How to warm up before running a 5K

Google Adsense

Let me ask you guys a question – What do you do to warm up before running a 5k race?

I am only asking because everyone I see at running events or races seem to do something different.

So what about you?

Do you do warm up exercises before running, do you have a specific pre-race warm up or ritual. Or do you just get going and count the first 10 minutes running as your warm up.

Regardless of what method you use, we’ve come to realise that warming up before running is a vital part of every athlete’s routine.

But do you know why? And for that matter are you doing it correctly?

That’s why we’ve decided to simplify all the complexities and help all runners by covering these topics:

  • What is a warm up?
  • How to warm up before running a 5K race
  • How to do a simple 10 minute warm up for running
  • And should you do a cool down

What is a Warm Up?

I want you to imagine that your body is like a car, and you’ve been parked outside in the cold for hours. Do you think you could turn on the ignition and go from 0-60mph in 4 seconds?

You could try, but I am sure a car mechanic would tell you that you’re about to do some damage to your vehicle. 

And that is exactly how our bodies work. If you don’t prepare your body for the stresses of physical activity it will most certainly lead to a breakdown. I.e. Injuries.

Warming up is any activity that serves as the physical and or mental preparation before exercise or a sporting event. It’s a crucial part of your exercise routine as it prepares your body to manage the stresses of prolonged physical activity, such as running 5km.

Note: Warm ups are meant to prepare not exhaust or fatigue your body. So pay careful attention to factors such as your heart rate and breathing efficiency during your warm up. Similarly, an effective warm up can be as short as 3 minutes and as long as 12, depending on the activity. Anything longer or shorter in duration can hamper your performance as you will not be fully prepared or you will find yourself pre-exhausted.

How to warm up before running a 5K race

How to warm up before running a 5K

Let’s get into some specifics about what you need to do for warming up before your run. And how you should be going about it.

When it comes to a warm up there are two main objectives that we want to achieve:

1. Increasing your overall body temperature

The reason we need to increase our overall body temperature is actually pretty simple:
To pump more oxygen rich blood to your extremities.

By doing a series of light to moderate intensity physical movements, you will raise your heart rate. And an elevated heart rate means more oxygenated blood being pumped through your body.

Which leads into next point…

2. Activating your muscles and joints

By pumping more oxygen rich blood to your body’s extremities, you will be helping your muscles and joints get activated. This will essentially get your body physically prepared for the activity you’re about to participate in, as activated muscles and joints lead to better performances.

But here is the thing, how many times have you stood at the finish line, 5 mins before your run starts. You turn to your left and you see the person next to you busy stretching.

So you instinctively start doing one or two stretches. STOP! 

No seriously, you need to stop stretching before you run. You see, despite popular opinions stretching before a run is not beneficial.

Research is continually providing us with significant evidence that stretching before physical activity has little to no benefits. In fact, research suggests that it actually hampers performance. 

Yes, that’s correct stretching as a warm up before running a 5km is bad for you. Who would’ve thought!

So if you’re not supposed to stretch before running, what are we supposed to be doing? 

Well, you should stretch. I know, I know, we just said not to stretch. But there is an explanation.

We’re not talking about conventional static stretching as you know it. We’re talking about dynamic stretching.

In layman’s terms, dynamic stretching involves actual movement of the body, while conventional stretching is usually more static.

And the more you move the better you will ultimately perform.

So by utilising dynamic stretching as part of your 10 minutes warming up or your specific pre race warm up, you’re putting yourself in the best position to dominate your next run.

How to do an easy and effective 10 minute warm up before a run

How to do a 10 minute warm up before race

When it comes to having a specific pre-race warm up there is a basic checklist of things you need to cover, all in just 10 minutes.

This includes activating your: 

  • Deep foot and calf muscles
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Core and lower back

And you will need to mobilise your:

  • Ankle joints
  • Knees
  • Hips (adductors and abductors) 
  • Lumbar and thoracic spine

Wait, what?

All of that in just 10 minutes? Yep and this is how it’s going to go down.

This is our in house sport scientists’ warm up routine and we are going to explain it to you in his words.

When it comes to warming up I use the same sequence of exercises for myself and my athletes. It’s actually quite simple, perform each movement for 20 seconds and rest for 20 second, for a total of 3 rounds

Here are the list of exercises:

  • 5m toe walks-heel walks (Arms raised directly above your head)
  • Walking lunges with torso twists
  • Walking Supermans
  • Frog squats
  • Hamstring walks/squats

5 exercises done for 20 seconds on and 20s off for a total of 3 rounds will tally up to a final time stamp of 9 minutes and 40 seconds (there is an extra 20 seconds in there for you to catch your breath).

These exercises are the ideal combination of movements that both activate and mobilise all the muscles and joints you will be using during your run.

Should you do a cool down?

Should you cool down after running a 5K

Should you cool down after running a 5K

Okay, so we’ve covered the warm up exercises before running.

What about after your run?

If there is a specific pre-race warm up surely there should be a set of cool down exercises.

Well, not necessarily, because everyone ultimately has their own specific preference of how they cool down after a race. Some people do cryotherapy or self myofascial release (foam rolling).

While some people do compression machines or lower body massage and some of you would just love an ice cold drink at the finish line. 

Scientific research indicates that the easiest and most cost effective method to cool down is static stretching. As we mentioned earlier dynamic stretches are better before your run, but static stretches are a perfect way to cool down after your race.

They are easy to do, they can be performed almost anywhere and they don’t cost you a cent. They might taste as nice as a cold brew but they get the job done.


When it’s all said and done, how you warm up and cool down is completely down to your own personal preference. Whether you do a 10 minute running warm up or just start running after the gun sounds off.

How and what you do is completely up to you.

However, we do advise you incorporate both a warm up and cool down into your pre and post race routine. Having a specific pre-race warm up will also aid in your mental preparation before your event, increasing your odds of performing well.

Similarly having a thorough post run cool down protocol can significantly aid in injury prevention which will be ensuring the longevity of your running career.

But at the end of the day it’s actually very simple, when it comes to the ideal warm up before running a 5km…

Just move a little before to get the heart rate up and stretch a little after to get the muscles to relax. Do that and everything will be ay-okay!


Are Warmups Necessary?

No. But they are highly recommended. Warm ups prepare your body for the stresses of running for a prolonged period of time and prevent injuries or chronic overuse conditions such as plantar fasciitis or tendonitis.

What happens if you don't warm up before running?

You increase your chances of getting injured significantly.

How long before a race should you warm up?

Typically 5-10 minutes before you start the race. Minimum 3 minutes and maximum 12-15 minutes.

Does warm up improve performance?

Yes. Warming up improves both mental and physical performance by getting your mind and body race ready.


Recommended Articles:

Articles you may Like

107 thoughts on “How to warm up before running a 5K”

  1. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some help
    from an established blog. Is it difficult
    to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
    I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any points or suggestions? Thanks

  2. It is perfect time to make a few plans for the longer
    term and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this submit and if I could I desire to suggest you few attention-grabbing issues or tips.
    Perhaps you could write subsequent articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read more things about it!

  3. Have you ever thought about including a little bit
    more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental
    and all. But just imagine if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more,
    “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos,
    this blog could definitely be one of the best in its field.
    Amazing blog!

  4. It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you just
    shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested
    to see if it can survive a forty foot drop, just so she can be
    a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has
    83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  6. Hi there i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this post i thought i could also make comment
    due to this good article.

  7. I got this website from my pal who informed me concerning this site and
    at the moment this time I am browsing this web site
    and reading very informative posts at this place.

  8. I must thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing
    this blog. I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you later
    on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own site now 😉

  9. I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.

    can you offer guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or
    elaborating on a few of the subjects you write concerning here.
    Again, awesome web site!

  10. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
    It is the little changes which will make the most important changes.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  11. With havin so much written content do you ever run into
    any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My website has a lot of unique content I’ve either created
    myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do
    you know any ways to help prevent content from being ripped off?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  12. Hi everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this website,
    and post is genuinely fruitful designed for me, keep up posting these types of articles or

  13. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get
    there! Thank you

  14. That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Thank you
    for sharing this one. A must read article!

  15. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and
    it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if
    I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions.
    Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.

    I desire to read more things about it!

  16. My face was so stretched over my now massive skull I looked like Jenny McCarthy.
    My biceps and muscles were hard and calcified. My boner now had a bone..
    Instead, she went ham and made it an ultimatum.

    So unnecessary.
    horse dildo
    gay sex toys

  17. I absolutely love your website.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you develop this web site yourself? Please reply
    back as I?m planning to create my own blog and want to learn where you got
    this from or what the theme is called. Kudos!

  18. Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue about this piece of
    writing here at this webpage, I have read all that,
    so at this time me also commenting at this place.

  19. We wish to thank you just as before for the lovely ideas you
    gave Jeremy when preparing her own post-graduate research and
    also, most importantly, for providing many of the ideas in one blog post.
    If we had been aware of your site a year ago,
    we may have been rescued from the nonessential measures we were
    having to take. Thank you very much.

  20. I have been browsing online greater than three hours lately,
    yet I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours.
    It’s beautiful value enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content
    material as you probably did, the internet will likely be a lot more
    helpful than ever before.

  21. whoah this weblog is wonderful i like reading your articles.
    Keep up the good work! You recognize, a lot of persons are hunting around for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  22. I not to mention my guys came checking the great key points located
    on the blog while unexpectedly I had a terrible feeling I never thanked
    the site owner for those tips. Most of the guys appeared to be for this
    reason glad to study them and have definitely been making the most of those
    things. Thanks for indeed being well thoughtful and then for deciding upon these kinds of fine information most people are really wanting to be aware
    of. My personal honest regret for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  23. This service is provided on News Group Newspapers’ Limited’s
    Standard Terms and Conditions in accordance with our
    Privacy Cookie Policy. To inquire about a licence to reproduce material, visit our Syndication site.
    View our online Press Pack.
    g spot vibrator
    wholesale sex toys
    penis pump

  24. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours nowadays, but I never
    discovered any interesting article like yours. It’s lovely
    worth sufficient for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web can be
    much more useful than ever before.

  25. Nice post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care
    for such info a lot. I used to be looking for this certain information for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  26. In 1999, Louis Bialkower, founder of Yarra Ridge, and Robert G.

    Kirby, owner of Yabby Lake Vineyards got together to
    purchase a piece of rich Cambrian soil.
    Cheap Jerseys china
    wholesale nfl jerseys from china
    cheap nfl jerseys

  27. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot
    about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with a few pics to drive
    the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog.
    A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  28. Luiso, Nicholas S. Luiso, Adam N. Lyon.. Ego Trip
    rarely gets it wrong, but on the issue of who deserves a ghetto pass, Hall Oates or Phil Collins on, this should be a
    no brainer.
    cheap Air max
    yeezy shoes
    cheap jordan shoes

  29. Neuhausel, Claire E. Notarianni, Elyse A. Notarianni,
    Paige M. Martinez changing the lineup, their efforts may go to waste if the starting pitchers don’t
    hold the fort for six to seven innings.
    cheap yeezys
    cheap jordans online
    cheap jordans for sale

  30. I like what you guys are up also. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll.

    I think it’ll improve the value of my site :).

  31. Thanks for another informative web site. The place else may I get that type of info written in such
    a perfect means? I’ve a venture that I’m
    just now running on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  32. Luka Doncic scored 24 points and the Dallas Mavericks led by an NBA-record 50
    points at halftime in a rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday to earn their first win of the season.

  33. What i don’t realize is in fact how you’re not really
    a lot more well-liked than you might be
    right now. You are very intelligent. You realize therefore considerably in the case of this
    topic, produced me personally imagine it from so many numerous angles.

    Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved until it is one
    thing to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your personal stuffs excellent.
    At all times maintain it up!

  34. Mina Caulfield and Richie Smith, residents of South Berkeley, pointed out at the
    meeting that Berkeley recently received a $750,000
    planning grant to work with locals on the Adeline Corridor,
    on which the proposed apartment complex is located.

    cheap yeezy
    cheap jordan shoes
    cheap jordans from china

  35. Hi there! This blog post could not be written much better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He always kept preaching about this. I will send this post to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Comment