Q&A with Coach Episode 3: The Art of the Race Warm-up

Have you ever done a piss poor warm-up before a race… and then felt terrible a few minutes after the gun fired?

I’m not surprised.

Without a proper warm-up, your heart rate will be too low when you start and your muscles will be tight – right when you need them to work their best!

Getting your warm-up right is crucial to not only feeling good during a race, but running to your potential.

In today’s episode of Q&A with Coach, I talk about two important aspects of warming up before a race: timing it properly and how to warm up in a starting corral when space is limited.

Let’s make sure we don’t waste months of hard workouts, long runs, and careful planning by botching our race warm-up…

I also answer two more questions:

  • How can I improve my 5k race time?
  • Is it ok that my pace is WAY slower on the trails than on the road?

On with the show!

Q&A with Coach: Episode 3

Show notes:

At the end of this episode, I asked you a question: how can I improve this show?

It’s important that you’re finding this coaching material helpful, but please give me some constructive criticism!

Leave a comment below: how can I improve Q&A with Coach? What do you suggest for making it more helpful or entertaining?

Thanks for watching and giving me your advice on how to make the show even better!

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  1. Hi Jason,
    I just want to thank you for the info you share on your site, emails and on the Q&A. This Sunday I am racing my 2nd 10K and today’s questions on warm up cleared a few doubts.

    For me the Q&A f is fine. There’s very little to improve if anything.

    Regards from the Dominican Republic

  2. Love the Q&A and agree with everything Y.K. said. My only suggestion is to change (remove?) the cheesy intro music. Sorry!!!

  3. Jason,

    Fabulous Q&A video! The first Q&A video of yours that I’ve watched.

    The links below the video are a huge plus!

    You are concise and very helpful in your responses and so very relevant to working runners. Nice idea you all had for this setup!

    I cannot come up with any changes that are needed.


  4. Jason, I really enjoy the show. The indignation you share is practical and applies to all of us. I would appreciate some demos of some of the warm-up exercises. Stay the course!

  5. Turtleone says:

    Hello Jason,
    Thanks for the QandA. Through experimenting with my running I have recently found that a warmup run of about 1/2 mile or more is helpful for my marathon runs. My HR is usually high the first mile and settles down after that. With the warmup, my HR is lower starting the first mile which improves my race efficiency. Because of your suggestion, I will try the strides too. Improvement? You are a very accomplished runner. Show it off by better by using the background behind you! Thanks for keeping your words to the point and concise. Others tend to be too wordy and we listeners loose attention.

  6. Great episode; very informative. I never did any warm up before races; no wonder I had injuries. Glad to hear your valuable insights. Thanks you!

  7. Thanks, Jason- Great advice. Especially trail runs. They have been humbling. Glad it isn’t just me. I’ve also been following your dynamic stretching regime for the past year and coupling with light walk/jog before races. Really helped a lot!
    My inquiry… I’d like to know more about how to balance running workouts with strength workouts. I am about to start training for my third marathon and have lost a lot of my overall strength while prepping for the first two. The time commitment needed to run long distances is really intense when balancing the rest of life, though! I have no idea how to add in anything else to balance my routine on a regular basis.

  8. Catherine Berry says:

    You must be doing it right because I’m already hooked. interesting questions, nice, specific answers and lovely presentation.
    I like to use the distance from parking to the start corral for part of my warm up; after dynamic stretches (on a mat that I can put back in the car if it’s a small local run), I did a very slow 2k and a few strides, then skips and side-skips back to the corral. I felt really ready to run and ran a 10k PR.
    On a windy and wet day for a 5K, to help stay warm in the corral I had a drycleaning bag with an enlarged hole at the top that I put on. Once I’d warmed up in the race I took it off, rolled it up and popped it in a garbage bin.

  9. Greg Collins says:

    Love the 5k advice. Tackle it from both ends, very time efficient, very effective.

  10. Greg Collins says:

    Watching the hill sprints piece I now have a supplementary question…

    Is it ok to combine hill sprints with a 5km or longer, easy pace run, doing them midway, as my nearest decent hills are between 3km and 5km from my door?

  11. Your timing here was impeccable: I’ve got a half tomorrow in 40* weather and raining. Definitely gonna be attacking the start with your advice.

    Now, this is more a content suggestion than an episode format suggestion. If other subscribers are like me, they’ve probably got questions about their specific needs. I know that you address this to an extreme with your personal coaching. But what if you addressed the needs of different types of runners / or different experience levels specifically? So say, my dad, who dropped 50 pounds and ran the Indy Mini last year, and he’s 53. Or me, who hasn’t run before in my life until this year, and I’m loving it.

    Or maybe the college athlete who’s trying to challenge himself/herself. You address each of some needs per topic, and I know you can’t get too specific, but what if you did a series? For me, I know I’d find that extremely beneficial (I wouldn’t have to sort through all the other information, you know?).

  12. I’ve really find this post helpful. I’ve always love running right form childhood.

  13. i find your videos really helpful and also appreciate how you keep them calm and informative without too much editing and animation. so keep doing what you do!

    As a longtime strengthrunning-reader I also have another question for Q&A for you.

    I just joined the running team of my uni which trains twice a week and have literally no hill training. Their run start with 4-6k uphill and i always feel like dying even though I don’t have too much trouble keeping up with the slower runners the rest of the time. So how do you suggest i train the rest of the week to get over my issues whenever the road goes slightly uphill? More hills? More strength? More sprints? Or do i just have to be patient and be consistent with my usual training until my body catches up to the new challenge on it’s own?

  14. Hi Jason,
    About a month ago I was diagnosed with shin stress, but i kept on running because I had to run in States.( we got third place! ) anyway my shins are still hurting me.(not as much though) i think that the main reason is because I didn’t switch my shoes because i only had one pair at the time.So my main two questions for you are what shoes would you say are good for track and is there anything else i can do other than ice,do exercises, and compress?

  15. Hey Jason,
    I really enjoyed this Q&A! Thank you! The only suggestion I have is regarding providing some video examples of some of things you’re talking about. For instance, you could show an example of striders – just a thought! Other than that – great job!