It is important to warm up before running, as this prepares your body for exercise. It also helps you avoid injuries, as warm muscles are less likely to tear or strain than cold ones.
Start your warm-up by jogging for about 800m. Then move on to some gentle exercises like the ones below to stretch your muscles. You should hold each stretch for about 5-8 seconds and then relax before repeating it. Finish with about four sets of strides and some drills to get your body used to running fast.
Stand in front of a wall and take one stride backwards. Lean forwards and place your hands against the wall. Keeping your body straight, press your heels to the floor, stretching your calf muscles. Repeat five times.
Stand on your left leg and support your right leg on a chair. Keeping both legs straight, stretch forward and hold your right foot, or as far down your leg as you can reach. Hold for five seconds and repeat five times on each leg.
Raise your left arm above your head and bend to the right. Avoid leaning forwards or backwards. Hold for five seconds, then straighten up. Repeat five times on each side.
Lower back muscles
Lie face-down on the floor, with your hands under your shoulders. Keeping your hips on the ground, look up at the ceiling and push up to raise your upper body. Repeat five times.
Holding your arms straight, swing them gently in large circular movements. Swing your arms forwards for about ten seconds, then swing them backwards.
Sit with your right leg stretched out in front of you. Hold your left leg in your arms so that the lower leg hangs loosely, then rotate your left foot ten times in each direction. Repeat with the other foot.
Inside of thighs
Sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together. Pull your feet up towards your body. Then gently press your knees down towards the floor. Repeat five times.
Always remember to warm down at the end of your running. Start your warm-down with some easy stretching exercises like the ones shown above. Move on to some gentle jogging to help flush any lactic acid out of your muscles.
Plyometrics is a general term used to describe hopping, jumping or bounding exercises. These are strength exercises which work specifically on the leg muscles. They are particularly good for sprinters, as they also increase the speed at which your leg muscles contract, which helps you to run faster.
To try plyometrics, you could hop, jump, skip or bound for 20m, building up to 30m as you improve. You should do two or three repetitions of each exercise.