As our Summer draws to a close, it’s time to get prepared for running in the Autumn. Although it will be a fair bit chillier, maybe even wetter, the sun might still shine and it could be argued, it’s the perfect temperature to head out and clock up your miles.
With that in mind, I had the opportunity to update my autumn / winter running kit with some pieces from the Very.co.uk sport and leisure range. So I followed my own advice by adding a jacket which is perfect for layering to keep warm. The adidas Terrex Utilitas Rain Jacket is also packable, waterproof, breathable and lightweight with a two-way front zip.
I updated my Under Armour running shoes collection too with the UA HOVR Phantom 2 Intelliknit Trainers. Although they’re pretty colourful, they’re also dark enough to withstand the weather over the wetter months.
Anyway, way back in 2016, I actually formed my own run club in East London called #WinterRunClub. We used to meet every Thursday evening in training for the London Winter Run in the January of 2017. As part of that, I created a series on the blog called Run With Us, and and this post with tips for how to warm up before running in colder weather was a part of that series.
It was contributed by fellow Fitness Professional Yasmine, but I’ve updated it and shared again with the aim of inspiring you to keep pounding the pavements throughout the colder weather, to share our expertise and of course to inspire you to Run With Us!
I’m actually considering relaunching Winter Run Club for 2021/22 as an online community… what do you think?!
Your Pre-Run Warm Up
Warming up before your run is essential for avoiding injury in the colder autumn and winter months. Fortunately just 30 seconds of each of the following exercises will switch on the muscles used for running and activate your nervous system.
Stretching cold muscles (particularly in static stretches) can lead to injury and stepping out in the cold Winter air can have a similarly negative effect. The cool air shocks the muscles, reducing blood flow causing them to feel tighter and leaving them prone to injury.
By doing a few minutes of active, or dynamic stretching before you head off you can improve your running and reduce the risk of injury.
How To Do 90/90s
This first exercise is great for opening up the hips. It also helps to prevent tight hip flexors which is very common with runners.
- Start in a seated position on the floor or on a mat with your knees at 90 degrees.
- Flip just the knees over to the other side and rotate your torso as you do so, following the direction of the knees.
- Keep repeating this movement, holding the rotation for a couple of seconds each time.
Hip CARs (controlled articular rotations)
How To Do Hip CARs (controlled articular rotations)
Hip CARS are a great mobility exercise to open up the hips and help to prevent any lower back aches or pains.
- Starting in box position on your hands and knees, with your shoulders tracking over your wrists and your hips tracking over your knees. Make sure your feet are also hip-width apart.
- Imagining that you have a pen attached to your knee cap, draw knee circles with one leg.
- Perform 10 rotations in one direction and then change direction of the circle.
- Repeat on the other leg.
Deep Squat Hold And Frog Squats
How To Do A Deep Squat And Frog Squat
This is the king of the hip-openers and also will alleviate any tight lower back muscles.
- Start with your legs wide apart, heels inwards and toes outward (10 & 2 o’clock positions for toes)
- Lower your hips as close to the ground as you can, keeping your back tall.
- Once you’ve lowered into the deep squat position place your elbows on the inside of the knees to help open the hips further.
For the frog squat, whilst maintaining a straight back and open chest, lift the hips up and down in a rocking motion.
Perform either exercise for 30 seconds.
How to do scapula slides
Although this warm-up for the upper back and shoulders is best done when lined up with your back against a wall, you can still do this from standing.
- Taking a deep breath in with your arms above your head, breathe out and draw the elbows down by the sides of your waist as you squeeze the shoulder blades together.
- You want to imagine a walnut stuck in between your shoulder blades and you’re trying to crack that walnut! Make sure you relax your shoulders whilst performing this exercise.
Achilles And Calf Muscles Stretch
How to do the Achilles And Calf Muscles Stretch
Your calf muscles and Achilles tendon are crucial to running. By giving them a good warm up your running will feel easier and you’ll reduce your chance of major injury.
- Bring one foot about an inch away from a wall, with the other foot placed behind at leasts a foot lengths away.
- With both feet facing forward and pressing against the wall with both hands, draw your front knee towards the wall so it reaches it. It is important here to keep the heel of the back foot glued to the ground.
- Hold for about 15 seconds on one side and then switch legs.
Hopefully we’ve given you a few exercises you can add to your warm up routine before you head out for your next run. And if you’re looking for inspiration for after your runs, check out this Post Run Stretch & Recovery Guide or these on-demand foam rolling classes.
Do you warm up before you head out for your runs?
Yasmine Say is a Chiswick-based Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor and founder of Say Fitness Personal Training.
Having worked as a Graphic Designer and Brand Manager for 10 years, including a stint as a University Lecturer at a private University in California, she decided to pack away the desk job and combine her talents in teaching and fitness with her love of marketing and branding to qualify as a Personal Trainer.
Now as a dedicated and passionate Personal Trainer with a diverse skill set, Yasmine aims to help you change your lifestyle habits and set realistic goals for a happier and healthier mind and body!
I’m a bit confused. You rightly say that static stretches before exercise may cause damage but then you go on to suggest static stretches.
I would also avoid stretches that involve sitting on the cold and potentially wet ground when stretching outdoors.
Hi Steven, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. There is one static stretch included at the end, for 15seconds.
I think people will apply some common sense and know not to do anything on the ground if the ground is cold or wet. The ground I’m pictured on is clearly neither cold nor wet. These warm up movements will most likely be done at home or in a gym. But thanks for pointing that out!
I hope you find these movements a useful addition to your running routine, and if not, all the best for finding what you are looking for!
Matilda Iglesias says
I always do a dynamic warm up before I go for a run. But sometimes I'm lazy (esp on the long run), and just take the first 2 k's at a really slow easy pace.
THIS is what I always do lol ….I should really start following my own advice! lol