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What is a good warm up for a middle school runner before a xc race?

By Bob Williams


What is a good warm up for a middle school runner to do before a cross country race?


That's a great question!  Recently at the Youth Runner Elite Middle School camp we spent some time teaching runners how to warm up for a big race.


The warm up procedure for a hard training session or competition have changed over the years. We used to run for a mile or so, and then after running a couple of strides you were ready.

Not so today. With science research and anecdotal responses to warm ups from middle, high school, college and professional coaches, we are getting a better warm up process for all ages of runners, especially middle schoolers.

1. It is very important for the young runner to jog slowly for about 15-20 minutes  - depending on the weather - if really hot, maybe 10-12 minutes. By Running easy, the body’s internal temperature will rise from about 96-8 to 100-101 and is now ready to take on more physical work.

2. After the warm up jog then a series of specific dynamic stretching routines will help loosen and elongate muscles and promote greater flexibility.

3. Then 4 x about 80-100m   2 @ about 5 k rhythm, one at 3k and 1 @ 1500m rhythm will fire up the muscles to enhance their ability to race.

4. Then 3 x 200 or about 45-50 seconds relaxed race rhythm will allow the lactate system of become energized and the aerobic capacity to jump start to effectively make the first few repetitions or the race start of feel easier.


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