Sometimes, I talk to my muscles. At the end of my long runs, when I feel my legs starting to give out, I say in my head, “Okay muscles, time to kick into gear! This is what we trained for!” And at that moment, my hamstrings and glutes fire, and I feel propelled like I’ve just pressed the NOS button on a car in a Fast & Furious movie.
It turns out, this is something you can both prepare and train for ahead of time by warming up correctly. In this 10-minute mobility warmup for runs, Barry’s trainer and Nike running coach Sashah Handal will lead you through activating exercises for all of the muscles you’ll need to recruit as you log those miles.
“When you’re running longer distances, and those quads get tired, you’re going to need to pull in all the muscles to get you through your full distance,” Handal says. Our quads and the front of the leg are the default muscles we use most in distance running, but to actually go that distance we’ll need our glutes and hamstrings to chip in. That’s why “it’s really important to make sure that you’re activating and warming up the back of the leg,” Handal says.
That way, when I say, “Okay muscles, time to kick into gear,” they will know what to do.
To prep our muscles for these runs, Handal includes three elements in this workout: stretching, strengthening, and building heat. These are precisely the ingredients necessary for a good warmup: You need to get your blood pumping, you need to get your muscles ready for action (or, to “activate” them), and you need to lubricate your joints.
That last point is essential: Mobility refers to the range of motion of your joints and their surrounding systems. Since the main joints you’ll be using in a long run are your hips, Handal includes plenty of hip openers along with moves like lunges that also wake up your leg muscles as you find the mobility you’ll need to run with an efficient stride.
Can you feel the heat? Good, you’re ready to run!