Tips To Maximize Your Warm-Up And Cool Down

Make the most of your warm-up and cool down
Hello, OCR Community!! Last time we wrote, it was about “Why a Proper Warm-Up and Cool Down Matter.” This time, we are going to dive a little deeper into doing a proper warm-up and cool down.

WHY TIME MANAGEMENT FOR A WARM-UP AND COOL DOWN IS KEY:

Most importantly, actually doing and planning your warm-up and cool down starts with time management.  It’s easy to skip these for the sake of time management in an effort to speed up your workout.  Thoughts like “as long as I get the main workout in, it can’t hurt much to skip my warm-up and cool down,” are common. Until you pull a muscle. Then, you are stuck nursing an injury and losing out on precious training time altogether.  In our prior article, we spoke about imagining that, how at the beginning of your warm-up, your muscles are like uncooked pasta…  you don’t want to go all out and push for some PR’s without making those muscles and your heart more pliable.  With all of this in mind, below are some tips to incorporate on warming up and cooling down.

SO… HOW DO YOU WARM-UP?

First, it’s incredibly helpful to look over your workout, understand what muscles you will be using, and focus on movements most specific to those muscles.  Then, break a sweat, and increase your heart rate. For Strength, Cardio(non-running) and Flexibility Sessions: incorporate movements like multiple sets of Jump Rope and/or Squats, a max set of push-ups and pull-ups, possibly even a core set. For example, you could pick a few of these: (sit-ups, plank, windmills, toes to bar, v-ups and the like…).  It’s also beneficial to include a handful of hip, t-spine and shoulder movements to loosen your joints up a bit. Running Sessions: focus on increasing your heart rate for an allotted time.  Start with slow movements. Continue to increase intensity to the point where your body is warm and you are sweating.  Include a mixture of movements such as butt kicks, kareokas, high knees, hamstring scoops, A-Skips, B-Skips, hip and t-spine movements, as well as any other dynamic moves you deem necessary to warm up the muscles you’ll be using to attack your run with full effort.

SO, HOW DO YOU COOL DOWN?

Remember what you just put your body through! What feels tired, exhausted, or possibly tight?  Know that a cool down is just as important as the warm-up. Once you’ve recognized areas that need some love, incorporate different movements, stretches and foam rolling to increase blood flow into those areas to help with the “recovery” process.  It’s extremely beneficial to see an inflammatory response (forcing blood flow) before shutting your body down from a training session.  It will decrease overall recovery time and allow you to train harder when incorporated properly. To get the most out of your training, you really want to make sure you make time for both a warm-up and cool down.  If you want to be the best version of yourself, you need to plan how you’ll recover to continue to make improvements and to put your best foot forward both in the training sessions and on actual race days.  Give your body the much needed attention it deserves and requires. As always, if you have anything to add or ideas to share, we welcome your comments or submitted articles!  If you haven’t joined our Facebook group for OCR Racers, come on over!  We are all here to help one another and make the best version of ourselves we can. Now get out there and crush it!!!

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