How long does it take you to get warmed up?

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Hosted by
Scott Warr

Trail and ultra runners are a curious breed.

We come from all walks of life and levels of fitness. Myself – I sit at a computer all day programming, with occasional walk breaks, and then head out for my training runs after work. It takes me at around 20 to 30 minutes to shake out the days’ tightness. In a race, I find that around 8 miles in things really start clicking. I have a good friend, Elizabeth, who says every race that she never feels warmed up until around 4 hours in! Then again, she was running 85+ miles through blizzard conditions recently at Prarie Spirit and wanted to continue…

So the question is…how long do YOU take to get warmed up on a long run or race? Is there a sweet spot, or does it always vary? Have you noticed any tricks to lessen the amount of time it takes to warm up? Do share!

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4 comments
  • I recall in my first few years of running it took 10-15 minutes to get under way. I had to get the tight spots to loosen up and my breathing / to become less labored and smoother. Now I don’t have the same start-up process. I seem to roll out in a good space. I don’t have a tip, maybe it’s just time on the feet ? ( I say this carefully as there are runners that have run 10x’s my miles with a warm up process.)

  • Usually something around 20-40 minutes before I start feeling good. For me the time can vary with the time of day (early morning takes me longer to warm up) and the season (in the dead of winter it takes longer to warm up). So, if it’s 5:30 a.m. at the end of January and the temp is -10F it might take me 40 minutes or even longer to really start feeling good. On the flip side, 2 p.m. in the middle of July with the temp at around 70F it might only take 10 minutes or so before I start feeling good.

  • The first 3 miles always suck! Tight burning calves, labored breathing, etc. Sometimes heel lifts will help and other times it won’t… I never feel like I’m really running before mile 4. I think we need a podcast about it!
    What do runners experience during warm up miles, what do they do before they start running and does it help? I think a lot of runners would be very interested in this information as so many of us struggle with this problem!

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