WARM UP: Should I?

Save your energy or prepare your muscles? Ever a debate! “Warming up” can mean very different things to different people. This generic term can include anything from a pre-workout one-mile jog to ladder sprints, to dynamic stretching, to static stretching.

We did some research and found some helpful tidbits for you to consider for your pre-Marathon warm-up if you so choose.  As physical therapists, we value the physiological and anatomical demands placed on your body during a marathon, but we also appreciate your personal decision – you know your body best.

The warm up starts the DAY BEFORE the race!

  • Yep, we said it. You have been training for months, don’t let the day before throw you off. Everything from your diet, your stress levels, and your sleep habits that day before can affect your performance. Your “warm up” includes the day before mental imagery, proper relaxation, healthy meals, and a good night’s sleep.

Blog 1 300x300 WARM UP: Should I?

A warm up includes staying warm

  • What you wear to the race is important. Your fingers, toes, and head need to be warm. You don’t want your body wasting energy on vasodilation or vasoconstriction – shifting blood to and from muscles back to organs. As you get further into the race and you get hot, shed those extra layers. Wear things that you aren’t emotionally attached to and toss them into the wind!

Blog 300x300 WARM UP: Should I?

A warm up includes increasing blood flow to the muscles and increasing muscular extensibility

  • Below is a list of some great static and dynamic stretches that appropriately challenge the muscles you will be using the most during a marathon. These stretches are great because they don’t take up too much space, don’t overstretch the muscle, and are easily reproducible!


  1. Trunk twist:15 sec (1,2)
  2. Groin Stretch: 25 sec(1,2)
  3. Quad Stretch: 25 sec(1,2)
  4. Soldier Marches for dynamic hamstring stretch (3)
  5. Plantar fascia stretch at curb (4,5)
  6. Walking lunges (6)
  7. Walk and abduct/adduct hip with knee flexed at 90
  8. High knees- walking forward flex each hip to 90


This whole warm up takes no longer than 5 minutes! Check it out here!

In summary, whether you choose to do a warm up before a marathon or not is up to you. Appropriate muscle length and blood flow are important for musculoskeletal health, but so is conserving energy for your big day. During these last few weeks of training, work on solidifying your warm up routine. If you are concerned about not knowing what is best for you in your warm up, come to one of our 6 Chicagoland Body Gears locations for a 3-session Marathon Warm Up Package!




  1. Woods K, Bishop P, Jones E. Warm-Up and Stretching
    in the Prevention of Muscular Injury. Sports Medicine [serial online]. September 2007;37(12):1089-1099. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 30, 2017.
  2. Bixler B, Jones RL. High—school football injuries:effects
    of a post-halftime warm-up and stretching routine. Fam Pract Res J 1992; 12 (2): 131-9
  3. Verral GM, Slavotinek JP, Barnes PG. The effect of
    sports specific training on reducing the incidence of hamstring injuries in profeccional Australian Rules football players. Br J Sports Med 2005; 39 (6): 363-8.
  4. DiGiovanni B, Nawoczenski D, Baumhauer J, et al. Plantar
    fascia-specific stretching exercise improves outcomes in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis. A prospective clinical trial with two-year follow-up. Journal Of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume [serial online]. August 2006;88(8):1775-1781. Available
    from: CINAHL Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 30, 2017.
  5. Fields K, Sykes J, Walker K, Jackson J. Prevention
    of Running Injuries. Current Sports Medicine Reports (American College Of Sports Medicine) [serial online]. May 2010;9(3):176-182. Available from: SPORTDiscus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 30, 2017.
  6. Zakaria A, Kiningham R, Sen A. Effects of Static and
    Dynamic Stretching on Injury Prevention in High School Soccer Athletes: A Randomized Trial. Journal Of Sport Rehabilitation [serial online].

If you liked this article please give us feedback and join the conversation. We would love to hear your suggestions on other science, anatomy, or movement topics you’d like to learn more about! Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @BodyGearsPT.