“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?!”
For many runners, warming up for a run is a lot like eating your veggies (or meat, if you’re English or in Pink Floyd) before dessert. You know you’ve got to do it, but you don’t really want to.
The solution to this quandary is not to skip the warm-up but to distract yourself from the fact that you’re actually warming up.
In other words: make it fun.
Of course, fun for me may not be fun for you. But perhaps my fun warm-up ideas will get your fun juices flowing, activating a fun reaction that could pop the head off of Barney himself.
(Adult-film makers, my ideas are for sale.)
Anyway, here are five fun warm-up ideas for Gainesville runners looking to switch it up a bit:
- Throw a Frisbee:
- This is my favorite way to warm up for a run, although it does require a partner. Throwing the Frisbee or “tossing the disc,” as it’s known in Ultimate lingo, is a great way to loosen-up your legs, hips and upper body. Lunges, lateral movement and hip rotation are all fundamental Frisbee movements and are great warm-ups for runners. Fyi, the cheapest 170-gram Frisbee in town is at Lloyd Clarke Sports – $9.99. See UF’s own Brodie Smith’s Frisbee trick video for some inspiration.
- Practice Martial Arts:
- Martial Arts are great for increasing strength, flexibility and stamina, both physical and mental. And let’s be honest, anyone who’s ever watched a Bruce Lee flick has either thought: “Man I wish I could do that!” or “How on Earth did this guy get so jacked?” Martial Arts, baby. My style of choice is Kung Fu, and I like to get some punches, kicks and/or poses in before a run. By the way, you did know that Bruce Lee was a runner, too, right?
- Climbing = total body fitness. It works the legs, arms, feet, hands, abs and just about every other muscle group we have. And although Gainesville is, for the most part, flat (as discussed in my hill-workout post), there is no shortage of objects – trees, walls, etc. – to climb. Gainesville also has a couple of good spots for traditional rock climbing, namely the Gainesville Rock Gym and the 55-foot Climbing Wall at Lake Wauburg South.
- Go Skateboarding:
- Skateboarding, in the classic sense, is not the ideal runner’s warm-up, but I’ve found it a fun and surprisingly effective way to get ready for a run. For starters, skateboarding is a great way to work on balance. If you’re comfortable riding with a particular foot forward, try riding with your other foot forward. It’s harder than it looks. You can also work your legs, and particularly your quads, by riding in a low crouched position, kind of like this goofball. (I like to pretend I’m in the barrel of a big wave when I ride this way.)
- Go for a Swim:
- You’ve heard it before. And now you’ll hear it again: swimming is a great workout for your entire body. Add in Gainesville’s warm weather and the potential for people-watching at the pool, and you’ve got the ideal run warm-up. Moreover, if you have a bathing suit you feel comfortable running in, you can get out of the pool, put on your shoes and run – just like that. I like to swim at the Florida Pool (free with Gator1) or the Dwight H. Hunter Pool (map) if I’m not on campus.
So, Gainesville, how do you warm up for a run?