ACTIVE RECOVERY: The Warm Up with Ciara Lucas


A pre-run warmup can be short and sweet, between 5-10 minutes. These light aerobic exercises loosen up your muscles and activate them for your upcoming run. Five minutes of dynamic stretching before activity can prevent injury and boost performance. Here’s an easy 5-minute pre-run routine: 


Standing Marches

Targets: hip flexors, glutes 

Time: 30 secs. 

Start standing. Begin marching in place for 30 seconds, raising knees high toward the ceiling. 

This exercise creates stability on both sides of the body, activating the hip flexors and glutes. Marching also develops balance while increasing core stability. 



Targets: calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, core

Time: 30 secs. 

An add-on to the standing marches, skipping introduces plyometric movement. This replicates the motion of your feet coming off the ground while running. Skip in place for 30 seconds. 


Lateral Lunges

Targets: glutes, hamstrings, quads

Times: 30 secs. 

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Alternate lunging from side to side and pause for a second at the bottom of the movement. Sit back into the glutes and feel the lower body muscles activate as the muscles are loaded. Continue switching sides for 30 seconds. 


Skater Jumps
Targets: quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves

Time: 30 secs. 

An add-on to the lateral lunges, skaters introduce plyometric movement and increase your heart rate. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Make a lateral jump movement by extending your right foot and jumping to the side. Land softly on your right foot and repeat this movement with the opposite leg, jumping side-to-side for 30 seconds. 


Alternating Quad Stretch

Targets: quads, hip flexors

Time: 1 minute

Start standing then draw your left foot up behind you, pulling the foot toward your butt for a quad stretch. Pause at the top of the movement then release and switch legs. Focus on the stretch and balance of this movement for 1 minute. 


Alternating Hamstring Stretch

Targets: hamstrings, calves

Time: 1 minute 

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Cross your left foot over your right foot and hinge forward, touching your toes or however far you can comfortably and safely stretch. Pause at the bottom, then come back up and switch feet. Do this for 1 minute. 


Alternating Lunges 

Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors

Time: 1 minute 

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Bring your hands to your hips and take a large step forward, lowering your body toward the floor.  Both legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the lunge. Push off the front leg to rise back up to start, and repeat on the other side. Do this for 1 minute.

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