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Prioritising the Warm Up

Jun 3, 2016 | Running | 10 comments

How long is your pre-run warm up?

5 minutes? 2 minutes? 2 seconds as you start your run?

I’m ashamed to admit I’m in the third camp, I literally shake myself out and start running – albeit slowly for the first mile.

Eilidh Puma workout

I recently got to attend a session with Puma athlete Eilidh Doyle at her training grounds at Bath University thanks to Puma and ProDirect Running. Eilidh will be representing GB (and more importantly, Scotland!) in this Summer’s Rio Olympic Games in the 400m hurdles.

I’m not sure I could think of a worse event for me – a 400m sprint whilst jumping over obstacles without bashing your shins or falling over….

Eilidh Puma workout

I really enjoyed practising running out of the starting blocks (so much harder than it looks) and learning from Eilidh what life is a like as a professional athlete. However, the thing I took away from the day for my own training was the importance of a proper warm up.

At the start of our session, Eilidh took us through a couple of the warm up moves and drills that she incorporates into her own routine, and explained that she usually warms up for 45 minutes before a workout.


Whilst we don’t all have 45 mins to warm up, my gosh, most of us only have 45 mins for our entire workout, I did start to feel the benefit of a proportionate warm up even during our short sprint session. After tackling the Barrecore Hardcore challenge for a month, I know that actually the hardest part of those hour long classes is the 15 minute warm up.

Eilidh Puma workout

Eilidh starts with a warm up jog, then some static stretches before moving on to dynamic stretches – if anything feels a bit off during the dynamic stretches, she’ll focus on that muscles/area in more static stretches.

A proper warm up like Eilidh’s can improve your workout and performance;

  • It gently warms the muscles, joints and bones, giving them all a chance to loosen up before being thrown into action
  • You slowly increase your heart rate and breathing, making it easier to get into a rhythm on your run
  • It’ll wake you up – whether you’re working out first thing, in your lunch break or after work, a warm up signifies to your body that it’s time to switch from sleeping/working to exercising

Eilidh Puma workout

Here’s a great example of a running warm up –

5 min jog, then complete 20 X of the below moves.

Forward/backward arms swings

Side-to-side trunk rotations with arms extended outward

Walking lunges

Forward/backward leg swings

Side-to-side leg swings

Hopping in place with locked knees

Jogging forward while rotating hips from left to right

Jogging in place with high knees

Jogging in place with butt kicks

Do you warm up properly before training runs or are you guilty of spending the extra time running/eating/sleeping like me? 

Good luck in Rio Eilidh, we’ll be rooting for you! 


  1. San

    I am definitely stretching before runs, but now I am questioning if it’s a proper warm-up… I definitely don’t have 45 minutes before my runs 😉 I guess, any warm-up is better than none, but I should definitely focus on w/u more.

    P.S. Hi!! New reader 🙂

    • charlotte

      hi Sam! Thanks for reading! I think something is better than nothing, we def don’t all have 45 mins before a workout like professional athletes do!

  2. healthyhappierbear

    It’s so true – any time I spend even just 5 minutes warming up I feel better. Oops!

  3. LSN

    Out the door and run is the norm for me… must make the effort to warm up

  4. Cathryn

    I never warm up (and am comforted that it seems no-one else does either). Who has time to warm up??? But…I had a makeover this week and the girl told me she spends 1 1/2 hours every day doing her make-up!!!!! That blew my mind.

    • charliedwatson

      An hour and a half???? I spend 5 mins! But am actually trying to get better at doing my make up, spending a little more time getting ready!

  5. Laura

    Oh wow, 45 minutes! My warmup for a run is usually walking quickly from the car to the starting point of my run, followed by some dynamic stretches. If I’m doing strength training it’s a few half-hearted dynamic stretches. Nowhere near enough, really! I spend far longer on my cooldown. Perhaps one of my June goals should be to warm up properly.

  6. Anna

    I’m a huge fan of the NTC Full Body Warm Up before a run – it’s only 5 minutes long, super easy to do, and then I can static stretch and go! I think because we always did classmate-led warm-ups in PE at school, having my phone talk me through it is so much easier.
    There’s also a matching warm down 5 minutes, but I’m less of a fan of that one post-running.

  7. Steph

    I always cool down but rarely warm up unless it is incorporated into whatever I am doing (I.e. Class or video). Left to my own devices, I don’t really do anything.

  8. Sarah

    I do a quick walk from the front door to the park entrance (300m) and then do some loosening and mobilisation (actually including some of the glute exercises you posted a while ago) until my Garmin has found signal so it can be anytime from 30 seconds to 10 minutes!


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