Monday, April 16, 2012

Warming Up

How long does it take you to warm up for your workout? What do you do for a warm-up? For how long? How is your warm-up routine different for before your weekly workouts and before your races?

These are the questions I've been pondering every time I've exercised in the last couple of months. I still don't know the answers, but I think I'm getting closer and it's changing the way I exercise and plan for races.

The training up to my half-marathon last October was fairly excruciating due to the unseasonably hot fall weather. I do not run well or far in heat. Still don't know how I managed the whole 13.1 miles on race day, though it certainly had something to do with the upper 40's temps that I love for running.

My warm-up that day: a jog back to the car to drop off stuff and some jumping up and down before the horn. My pace had slowed considerably over the course of training for the longer distance and over the first mile I barely maintained an 11:30 min/mile pace (I think) as indicated by Erin's RunKeeper app. I slowed to a more manageable pace while Erin ran on. The first 6ish miles felt jerky, like my breathing and my body just couldn't get in sync. Like I was fighting myself to get in a rhythm.

Then around 6.5 miles everything gelled. I ran smooth and faster. Just glorious running. Though I don't have proof of my pace on the back half, I sure felt like I was picking up speed or at least I wasn't losing as much speed. By the end of the race, my leg muscles were not so happy with me, but my lungs and heart were primed to go farther.

The same thing has happened on a smaller scale in a couple of other races. I'm not holding anything back at the start, I'm just not getting into a groove later in the race. I've encountered this during my personal training, too. When I run in the morning before training, I have more to give during training. When I'm on the treadmill at the start of training for my warm-up, the 12 min/mile feels really, really hard for the whole 5-10 mins. Then near the end of training last week, when I ran on the treadmill again, the 9:30 min/mile felt good and sustainable. What is going on here?

I need six miles or an hour of weights, push-ups and lunges to warm up? Really? Am I the slowest warmer-upper ever? Am I just not doing efficient warm-ups? What does this mean for before races where I might actually like to pick up the pace at the start of the race instead of over halfway done?

So many questions. Certainly, I need to do more warming up before my regular workouts and my races. So far that has meant starting out running very slow and gradually picking up the pace. I think perhaps I need to consider other exercises, too. Maybe I'll try some Skip and Twists like Beckham. Get my core involved. (

Well, that's the long way of saying that I'm trying to understand how warming up works for me. I've still got a ways to go.


engineer said...

way to go! you'll figure it out!

toni said...

Warming up...hmmm...I continue to pick up tips from you.