Running was the first thing I started doing to get active. If I’m honest, I probably started as a teenager because it gave me an excuse to get out of the house and listen to my CD player as loud as I wanted (yep, I carried a full size CD player with me and my first CD was TLC Waterfalls – don’t judge). Nowadays I usually get in a quick 3 miles on the treadmill twice a week with my phone or IPod. If I’m home in Michigan or on vacation I’ll enjoy a longer outside run, maybe 5 miles.
This year’s race season got me thinking about some of the benefits of running, so I decided to chat with Niki Davis, RDV Sportsplex Athletic Club Fitness Manager, avid runner, wife and busy mom, about what she loves most about hitting the pavement.
“It’s really efficient because I can get time for myself and a workout in,” she said. “Or sometimes I use it as social time with my girlfriends; we meet for a run and finish off with Starbucks at the end. You will never catch me in a better mood than Saturday morning after my run!” I asked Niki if she has a favorite distance. “I love 10k’s because I have to pace myself, and once a year I sign up for a half marathon because I have to actually train for it. My favorite race is the OUC Half in Downtown Orlando.”
“One of the greatest things about running is that anyone can do it, and you can start anywhere. If you go to a race you see all shapes and sizes and it truly can be a fun “good for you” social activity. There are programs like the “Couch to 5K” which can be a great place to get started. The beauty of getting involved with running is that you don’t have to run the entire time. You can walk, run or do a combination of both, whatever works for you. Half the battle is signing up for a race” Niki says.
So two weeks ago we talked about stretching, last week talked about the best playlist and this week Niki is taking us through an easy, effective warm-up before you hit the pavement or the treadmill for a run.
Now it’s your turn to run in out!
Front to Back – Warming up your hamstrings, lower back and hips. Swing leg front to back making sure to keep your core tall and straight so that your spine isn’t rounding when your foot raises in front or arching when your foot swings back.
Side to Side – Still keeping core tall and keeping the movement at the hips this move further warms up your hips with internal and external rotation and also works the mobility of the ankle that you are standing on. Be sure to keep the stance foot facing forward and the foot on the swinging leg toes point up to the sky as you swing out and internally rotates as you swing through the middle.
Side to Side Lunges
Gets you moving laterally and wakes up your inner thighs and glutes. Lock one leg straight and load the other making sure that the bent knee is facing forward.
Cross or Curtsy Lunges
Cross one leg behind the other and lower the back knee down to the outside of the stance heel, trying to keep your hips as level as possible as you lower. This deepens the glute stretch and warms up the IT bands and calves
Stagger your feet lining up the ball of one foot with the heel of the other, bend your knees and squat low. Then straighten your legs as best as you can lifting from the hips, your legs may not be able to straighten and that’s okay. You will feel this stretching up the back of your legs and into your lower back.