Most runners are often guilty of skimping on their warm up and tend to dive straight in to a vigorous run. A warm up has a number of different functions. It raises the body temperature, increases the heart rate and mobilises the joints ,making running an easier and more comfortable task.
Even though running is predominantly a lower body activity, you do not want to start running with stiffness or tension in other areas.
Begin by gently mobilising the major joints of the body- the neck, shoulders, waist, hips, knees and ankles. Movements should be gentle and smooth, controlled circling, bending and extending.
Take a walk and gradually increase the speed and range until you break in to a light jog.
Warm up the Hamstrings by putting them through a full range of movement swing with no impact. Stand side on to a support and with your knee bent, lift the leg to hip height, and swing it up, down and back in a circular motion, the leg almost fully extended at the end of the back swing. Do 10-20 on each leg. Increase the range and speed with each one.
If you suffer from knee problems prone kicks are a good warm up as they put the knee through a full range of motion but without the impact.
Lie face down with your head resting on your bent arms, pull in your tummy a little. Bring one foot up towards the bottom and then back to the floor, then do the same with the other leg. Start slowly and gradually build up speed kicking for 2 mins or for 120 kicks. It is important not to let the pelvis rock while you are doing this exercise so keep the tummy pull in and the pelvis steady.
After these exercises you should feel warmer, have an increased heart rate, be slightly out of breath and Ready to Run.