Don’t Start Your Long Run Without This Warmup Routine

Looking to step up your warm-up game? This takes about 30 minutes.

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Every run should begin with warm-up, and if you’re going long, so should your prep work. It can tempting to skip the warm-up when you’re already dedicating lots of time on the workout, but for a long run, hard effort, or a race, an exhaustive warm-up is just what your body needs to a) prevent injury, and b) maximize your efforts.

This in-depth plan from coach and runner Nell Rojas will take you approximately 30 minutes.


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Regain Mobility

Foam roll out for muscle desensitization.


Pick 1-3 exercises and do 12 reps:

  • Banded lateral walks: In a quarter squat, with a resistance band above your knees, step in one direction and then the other.
  • Banded double-leg bridges: With a resistance band above the knees, lay down with knees bent. Raise your glutes and pelvis into a bridge position. Lower down and repeat.
  • Banded clamshell: With a resistance band above the knees, lay down on your side with legs bent at 45 degrees. Lift your top leg up, while keeping both your feet together. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Banded backward walks: Similar to lateral walks, except stepping backward instead of to the side.

Warm-Up Run

1-3 easy miles, depending on your mileage/training plan.

Dynamic Stretching

While walking, complete 1 x 15 meters of each:

  • Knee hugs: Hug your right knee into your body, hold no more than 2-seconds. Release and step forward with that foot. Complete the next step with your left leg.
  • Quads: Reach your right arm behind you and grab your same foot, stretching your quad, while reaching your left arm straight into the air. Take a step forward and repeat on the left side.
  • Cross Over: Standing, grab your right foot and bend it across your body in a figure-four or standing pigeon pose. Release. Take a step and repeat on the opposite leg.
  • Hamstrings: Take three steps then stop and stick your left leg out in front with your heel on the ground and toe flexed up. Bend your torso and swoop your arms along the ground and up into the air. Take three steps and repeat on the right side.


Go from slowest to fastest, completing 2 x 15 meters of each:

  • Skipping with windmills: Light skipping, while your arms move in a windmill motion.
  • Sashay: Moving sideways, shuffle your feet one after the other while shifting your arms above your head and crossing below in front of your body.
  • Leg swings: While walking, lift the left leg up, and bring the right arm up and around to meet it, switching sides every three steps.
  • A-Skips: Lift your left leg up with a bent knee and toe flexed and then quickly skip to the right leg, with arms in running position.
  • B-Skips: Similar to A-skips, except you will extend your leg out and quickly kick out and down to the ground before skipping to the opposite leg.
  • Glass walls every 3: Pretending there is a glass wall behind you, kick your leg up and land directly under you without kicking back. Jog three steps in between each kick.
  • Glass walls: Complete a glass wall kick on every step rather and omit the jog in between.
  • High knees: Fast arms, high knees, and quick taps on the balls of your feet.
  • Strides: Do 4 x 100 meter strides at an easy pace, 5K pace, mile pace, and again at mile pace. Follow with 2 x 50 meter strides.

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