Ever start a hard workout and it seems like you aren't really in the groove and running well until you are a third of the way in? You can get the most out of your workout by having a warmup routine that lets you get the entire benefit or your hard run instead of using part of the run to warmup. The goal is to have your 5 mile tempo run actually be a 5 mile tempo run and not a 1 mile warmup and a 4 mile tempo run. Starting the hard part of your workout already warmed up will let you get the maximum out of your workout while also reducing your chances of injury and being a more realistic race simulation.
A good functional warmup includes slow running, some active stretching exercises, a little speed and some nutritional choices. I've used the schedule below for a few years with minor modifications and it's a good basic warmup that can be used for races and workouts of all distances.
Walk 5 minutes
Run 1 mile slowly
Stretch/Take gel or nutrition (Change into race singlet and shoes if you want to)
Walk 5 minutes
5 50 meter accelerations 5 minutes before race.
Go to the start
I'll write this out on an index card or sticky note before a race with the times I need to do each step included. So for a race that starts at 9am my card would look like this:
5 - Eat energy bar
6:23 - Last drink
8:23 - Walk 5 minutes
8:28 - Run 1 mile slowly
8:40 - Stretch/Gu/Change
8:50 - Walk 5 minutes
8:55 - 5 50 meter accelerations
8:58 - Drink 8-16 ounces of water
9 - Start race
In a later blog, I'll explain more about how I drink and eat before a race but generally I'd recommend experimenting and finding out what works for you.
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