Get Revved Up With The Running ABC’s

Warming up before hitting your stride will improve performance

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Nathan Bodewitz
Photo: Britton Ledingham; Apparel courtesty Nike

Most of us run to warm up but what if you warmed up to run?!? The answer is easy. You would have improved running performance, decreased risk of injuries, and be mentally and physically ready to charge your favourite path, trail or treadmill.

Running coaches have strategically broken a run stride into three main parts A, B, and C:

Part A is all about knee drive and starting the stride. Part B is the pull and contact with the ground. This movement propels you forward. Part C is all about recovering so that you can start your next stride.

It’s as simple as ABC.  Expanding on this concept, here are five warm-up exercises focusing on each element of your running stride that will take your run game to the next level.

Warm-Up

  • 5 minute brisk walk or easy jog.
  • Alternating standing quad stretch (grab ankle, hold for 3 seconds), 10 per side.
  • Hip swings, 10 per side.

Workout

1. Hip Flexor Walking Lunge

10x per side, no rests

Intermediate: Perform a walking lunge. When you are at the bottom of your lunge, tuck your tailbone so that your pelvis is stacked while your reach your arm overhead. The overhead arm should be the same as your back leg to get the best hip flexor stretch possible.

Beginner: Perform shallower lunges.

Advanced: Perform deeper lunges.

Hip Flexor Walking Lunge
Photo: Britton Ledingham; Apparel courtesty Nike

2. Standing Glute Pulls

10x per side, no rests

All Levels: Lift your knee to your chest while balancing on the opposite leg. Using your hands, pull your knee straight up and ankle towards opposite shoulder while maintaining a tall spine. If you are uncomfortable balancing you can also perform this exercise laying on your back.

Standing Glute Pull
Photo: Britton Ledingham; Apparel courtesty Nike

3. Knee Drive (A)

3 Sets / 10 sec each / Rest 20 sec

Intermediate: Start by standing tall on the balls of your feet with your glutes engaged. Drive your knee to your chest quickly. Lower your leg to the ground and switch legs. Repeat. Be sure to also include your arms. Emphasize moving through the shoulder and reaching forward and back, NOT side to side.

Beginner: March on the spot.

Advanced: March travelling forward.

Knee Drive
Photo: Britton Ledingham; Apparel courtesty Nike

4. March (B)

3 Sets / 10 sec each / Rest 20 sec

Intermediate: Perform an easy knee drive. At the top of the knee drive extend your leg forward and pull your foot swiftly down into the ground beside your planted foot. Emphasize strongly striking the ground with the ball of your foot, not the heel. Recover and repeat with the opposite leg.

Beginner: March on the spot.

Advanced: March travelling forward.

March
Photo: Britton Ledingham; Apparel courtesty Nike

5. Butt Kicks (C)

3 Sets / 10 sec each / Rest 20 sec

Intermediate: Stand tall. Quickly bring one foot from the ground to the back of your hip on the same side. Alternate legs and repeat.

Beginner: March on the spot.

Advanced: March travelling forward or run.

Butt Kicks
Photo: Britton Ledingham; Apparel courtesty Nike

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