I am a great fan of warming up. One of my great frustrations is watching runners who do Parkrun stand around with hands in pockets before setting off for a 5K run and then wonder why it feels hard and why they never quite perform as well as they would like.
Same applies to new runners. They really struggle to get through the first 10-15 minutes and think they can’t run. Too often they give up before they have even warmed up.
The answer is of course quite simple. It takes a while for your body to warm up and function efficiently and of course on a 5K run, by the time you are warmed up, not only are you are carrying a massive oxygen debt, with stiff screaming muscles and lungs, you are also at least halfway finished so don’t have much time to get the benefit of your now efficient body.
A wee run on the treadmill tonight with the HR monitor on illustrates this perfectly. I set off jogging really easily, yet my heart rate was more than 80% of maximum. It took 10 minutes before my HR dropped like a stone and I instantly felt much more comfortable. I then increased my speed and did so every 5 minutes. Each time I increased speed my HR went up a little, but even though I was working quite hard by the end of the run, my heart rate was still 20 beats per minute than it had been while jogging easily at the start.
The picture says it all
Woah — that graphic is actually really cool. That really shows how important warming up is…and explains why I hate the beginning of every.single.run 😉
Why would you warm up at >80% of maxHR? I would be very worried if ‘easy’ jogging put my HR up like that at any point of the run, but in the first few minutes of a run if I saw that I’d be spitting on the contacts.