TRAINING AND RACING WARM-UP ADVICE
TRAINING FOR THE PRE-RACE WARM-UP PLUS THE RACE If you think you are warming up appropriately for both your training sessions and races, read the article, “Coach Culpepper: The Importance of the Warm-up” by Alan Culpepper for Competitor.com. After doing so, I have a new perspective on how training warm-ups can help prepare for racing warm-ups.
The purpose of a warm-up session, he says, is to prepare the body physiologically for a higher level intensity workout; not only to warm muscles to prevent injury but to increase blood flow to tissues to sustain the ramped-up effort.
The coach offers a sample routine for the advanced runner, which should include jogging a mile or so, light stretching, a variety of dynamic drills, and strides with recovery intervals. For the beginner, “walking or jogging, followed by a short period of light stretching, is a good start”.
When training Culpepper applies a general rule that “the shorter the workout distance, the more critical the warm-up process”. Prior to racing he advises, “the more intense the race is going to be from the onset, the more critical it becomes to have your cardiovascular and muscular systems fully warmed up before the gun”, such that shorter distance sprinters take a full hour to warm up beforehand.
Lastly, Coach Culpepper provides some sample warm-up routines for races distances from 5K to a marathon. THIS SECTION IS KEY ADVICE. If you have raced these distances, was your warm-up routine adequate by his standards? I would guess many runners must, in all honesty, answer “no”, including me. I usually don’t wish to tire myself for the race! I’ve been conserving my energy for the real deal. Now I realize I may have been setting myself up for a poorer performance and worse yet, an injury.
Apparently my training must be adjusted to accommodate the effort of an adequate-for the-race warm-up PLUS the race!!! In other words, I must train not for just the 5K distance but to be able to perform the necessary pre-race warmup AND still race at the pace I had planned to run.
There’s always something new that can be learned from the experts; I’d never thought of the training warm-up in this way. Thanks Coach.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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