Race Warm-Up Do’s And Don’ts

The right way to approach a pre-race run routine.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

The right way to approach a pre-race run routine.

We’ve all seen triathletes perform interesting or just plain weird warm-up routines before a race. Which ones work and which ones are a waste of time or—worse—could cause an injury? “Pre-race warm-ups are a necessity for all but can be different for each athlete,” says Josh Glass, a board-certified chiropractic sports practitioner and sports medicine representative for USA Track and Field. When the open water isn’t accessible and you’re not allowed to take your bike out of transition, your best bet is a pre-race run. Glass advises on some do’s and don’ts for standalone running races and triathlons.

Don’t do this

Cold stretching: To reduce the risk of injury, you should always stretch only after getting some blood flow to muscles and thus increase the mobility.
Aerobics moves: Some running races kick off with energetic aerobics instructors leading a ballistic routine of jumps and stretches. Instead of joining in on the calisthenics, enjoy watching everyone else while you do your own tamer warm-up.
– Anything you haven’t tried before: You might see fast and confident-looking runners doing all kinds of dynamic moves and be tempted to copy their routine. That may very well be the proper warm-up for them, but skip it if you’ve never tried it before.

RELATED: Your Best 10-Minute Warm-Up

Do this

Practice this general routine below before a tough workout so you’ll be prepped when the big day arrives. Glass outlines the perfect warm-up to use at a standalone running race (or a triathlon) below:
– Start with an easy jog to warm up followed by some active stretches of the leg muscles.
– Next, do some dynamic exercises and drills to get specific muscles ready for racing, such as walking lunges, high knees, butt kicks, and A and B skips. Always do a few strides as well. Controlled sprints help remind your body of good biomechanics and elevate your heart rate.
– Practice this routine before a few workouts so you know how much time to give yourself before a race, and always allow an extra 15 minutes to avoid any late, stressful situations.

RELATED: Rehab United’s 5 Minute Pre-Race Warm-Up

Trending on Triathlete

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.