Track Race Warmups

by Kitt
(Vancouver, BC Canada)

Hi, I've really glad I found this site. By far the most useful site on running I've visited yet.

Anyways, I'm doing high school track right now and I race the 1500m, 3000m, and 800m. I'm just curious how you would recommend me warmup for each of those races.

Like how long warmup jog, should I do strides, if so when and how many, and when to stretch, etc

Thanks a lot.

From Kitt.

Thanks for the kind words Kitt. I appreciate that a lot. Now, hopefully I can help you prepare properly for each race. The first rule that you should follow is this. The longer the race, the shorter the warm up should be. I recommend jogging nice and easy for five to ten minutes for distance running events.

For the 3200 I suggest a five minute jog. The 1600 should be somewhere between five to ten minutes, and the 800 about ten minutes. This jog again should be done nice and easy. You are just trying to get your legs warm, not take any energy or life away from them.

After the warm up run is complete, then you stretch. I think the warm up run is more important than stretching because, without it your legs won't be ready to stretch out anyways.

The last step is to do strides. I wouldn't do strides until you are five to ten minutes away from the start of your race. The closer you are to race time to do your strides, the better. I suggest four to six strides. Only do as many as you need. If you feel nice and loose, four strides is enough. If you still feel a little tight, do about six of them.

Don't do any of that weird bouncing around, or slapping your legs before the race. This does nothing. Just do your strides, and walk around easy before you start. When the gun goes off, you'll be ready.

If you have to double (run two races in the same meet) I suggest a very short warm up, but make sure to do the strides. The strides will get your legs ready to roll again.

For more information, you can visit the article I wrote about Warming up for running.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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Apr 17, 2011
by: Kitt

Thanks for the quick reply. I also want to know for the step 2, stretching, if it's alright to do drills instead of just static stretching? Because drills are like dynamic stretching and I've read that they are better before runs and static stretching is better after runs.


You're right - Dynamic stretching is much better. I recommend this over static stretching too. Also, do the static stretching after your race and cool down.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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This article was written by David Tiefenthaler, the founder and main contributor for In addition to running, he's also an author, and a full time teacher.

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