This week's tip:

Pre-Race Routines and Warm-Ups

How to warm up for a race or a workout

By Briana Kramer

You can train all you like and have the best equipment in the world, but if you don't warm up properly before you race, your performance will suffer.

The same thing goes for training. A proper warm-up before you begin limbers you up and focuses your mind and that makes your training more productive.

A good warm-up or pre-race routine includes three things: aerobic exercise to get your blood moving, stretching to limber up your muscles, and mental preparation to focus your mind.

There are an infinite number of ways to warm up — and what works for one athlete won't necessarily work for another.

The trick is to find out what works best for you.

Here's my pre-race routine:


I start with some jogging. I do eight to ten minutes of this. If you don't like jogging, do some karaoke drills, side skips, knee highs or butt kicks.


After running, I do some active and dynamic stretches. Active stretches are like yoga postures. You hold positions — without forcing. An example is the forward bend.

Leg Swing video

Dynamic stretching involves movement. You move, usually a limb, and gradually —again without forcing or pain — increase your reach.

A good dynamic stretch is leg swings. (See video.)


After I stretch, I put on my skates and do a little skating.

If I anticipate a fast start in the race, I’ll include a few sprints to get my legs ready for the acceleration.


Throughout my warm-up, I prepare myself mentally by clearing my mind of extraneous thoughts and thinking about my goals and plan for the race.

I find that the more I focus on the race — instead of on what's going on around me or in my personal life — the better I do.

I also listen to some music on my digital music player to help put me in the right mood.

What Works for You

The goal of a warm-up is to work up a sweat so your body isn't shocked by the intensity of what is coming next.

Once you find a routine that works for you, stick with it. With a good warm-up, you will get more out of your workouts and you'll perform better in races.


Briana KramerBriana Kramer is one of USA’s top young speed skaters and the winner of the 2011 National Roller Cup. A Florida native, she trained under legendary coach Renee Hildebrand. She is a member of the Bont USA inline racing team and part of the inline-to-ice training program of the US Olympic Committee. She finished in the top 10 in all distances in the 2011-2012 American Cup of longtrack ice. She hopes to earn a spot on the USA Olympic team in 2014 or 2018. Later, she plans to earn an MBA, open a business and write a book about her experiences "to help other girls like me.”

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