The single best piece of advice I can dish out to my athletes is to invest in your warm-up. A high-quality warm-up equals minimal injuries and faster times.
How to structure your warm-up routine:
- Foam Roll (3mins): This evil, soft tissue mashing device will release any tension from your muscles. Aim for 30-60 seconds on each really tight area. Runners should target calves, hip flexors and glutes
- Dynamic Stretching (3mins): Perform slow and controlled stretches of the area you just foam rolled. Don’t hold or bounce the stretch, just gently move the muscles through a full range of motion, e.g. downward dog walk outs or walking lunges
- Functional Movement Patterns (3mins): If you are going for a run, you should try to do some step ups, lunges or single-leg skipping. This will fire up the correct stabilising muscles before you start your session
Take it easy in the first five minutes of your session, allow some synovial fluid to lubricate your creaking joints and get your muscles up to working temperature.
Recovery is also key. I recommend carbs, protein, electrolytes and a good five to 10-minute cool-down.