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The warm-up and cool-down essentials for runners

Are you neglecting the most important elements of your regular run? What comes just before and after might be just as beneficial as the run itself.

Why warm up for a run?

You might be tempted to dash out the door for a run without warming up. We know the feeling – you just want to get out there. But a proper warm-up will make you a faster and stronger runner over the longer term, and, crucially, help you avoid injuries.

 

Benefits of warming up include:
 

Raised body temperature, speeding up your metabolic processes and energy supply
Enhanced muscle performance, allowing your muscles to contract faster and more powerfully
Increased cardio performance, allowing for higher oxygen uptake
Better joint load distribution
Injury prevention


Convinced? Thought so. Here’s how to crank up the heat:

 

 

The three-step plan for your perfect warm-up

 

1. Walk / run three to five minutes to get your blood flowing and tell your brain that it’s time to go. Resist the temptation to kick into a run. We know, it’s not easy. Think of it as mental training too.

 

2. Add in some strides to help your body transition from walking to running:

a. Jog gently for two minutes.

b. Accelerate over the course of 60-100 meters, then gradually decelerate

c. Return back to walking and shake out your legs for 90 seconds.

d. Repeat

 

3. Do some dynamic stretches. If you’re used to static stretches (more on those later), then these may feel more like exercises. Thing is, while you want to warm up your muscles and increase your range of motion before you run, holding cold muscles in a static position is not a good idea.

 

At best, it’ll remove some of your muscles’ explosive power before you get to use it on the run. At worst, you’ll strain a muscle before you even start (not cool, and potentially a bit embarrassing as you limp back through the door a minute after you left).Dynamic movements increase your range of motion while limiting those risks. They’ll also improve blood flow and warm up your muscles, so you’re primed to perform.

 

Examples of dynamic stretching movements include:

 

 

Jumping jacks – your classic ‘star jump’ – try these for a minute or so.
 

 

 

Forward jacks – the same as above, but your legs and arms go forward and backwards rather than sideways – it’s a bit like exaggerated, excited running in place. Again, a minute is enough.

 

 

Squats with walkout – Get into a squat position then walk your arms out in front of you until you come into a high plank position, then walk your hands back until you’re squatting again.

Walkouts with knees to elbows – The same as the above squat version, but you start from a standing position and bend slowly at the waist, core engaged, to put your hands to the ground. Then (and here comes the kicker), when you’re in plank position, bring your knee to your elbow. Repeat at least 10 times on each side. This will get the core burning so your inner fire is stoked ahead of the run.

 

Warming up properly is more difficult when the temperature drops. On cold days it’s important to wear warm outer layers as you go through your pre-run routine. That’s why we made the Hoodie – to ensure comfort and performance on colder days. Tailored for runners, it’s big on features, low on bulk, and designed with technical fabrics for high performance. The blend of fabrics is specifically developed to keep your temperature on track. Plus, it’s light enough to wear on your run in if you want added warmth. 

 

The Hoodie
A streetwear icon re-engineered for high comfort and high performance. Perfect for the warm-up or your downtime.
See the details


Why cool down after a run?


A proper cool-down is just as important as your warm-up. It eases you back into reality and prepares you for your next workout. Though a post-run shower or nap may immediately be calling, you should first take a few sips of water, put on warm, temperature-balancing outer layers like the Hoodie and Sweat Pants and trot off for a quick cool-down first.
 

Benefits of cooling down include:

Brings your body back to a resting state as efficiently as possible, including your heart rate and blood pressure.

Reduces the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness.

Allows a gradual decrease of activity so you don’t stop too fast and feel sick; stopping suddenly can cause light-headedness because your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly.

 

The Sweat Pants
Made for runners, these technical sweats feature soft woolen sections at the knee, for warming comfort after your run. Think of them as a reward for post-training legs.
See the details


4 steps to your perfect cool-down
 

– 3–5 minutes of gentle jogging, or even brisk walking if you really pushed it, like in an intervals session or similar. 

– 5–10 minutes of form drills for strength and mobility. Practice slowly running with a straight back, crown of the head pointed to the sky and driving the knees higher than usual. You can also repeat the dynamic stretches from the warm-up plan above.  

– 5–10 minutes of static stretching. These are the classic stretches you likely know from gym class. For example, slowly touch your toes to stretch the back of the legs. Gently push against a wall with one knee bent and the other straight behind you to stretch out the calf muscles (don’t forget to do both sides), pull your foot to your bottom to stretch the quads (again, both legs). Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, then shake it out. 

– 5–10 minutes of rolling on a foam roller, paying careful attention to go slow on any stiff sections. We know, it hurts, but today’s pain is tomorrow’s gain. Or something like that. Anyway, trust us, it’s totally worth it.

 

In summary…

Give your warm-up and your cool-down almost as much attention as you do your run. Making it a regular part of your routine will not only help keep you injury free, but make you a stronger runner over time. Hear that? That’s your body saying “thank you” in advance.

 

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