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Exercise gives our body a physical and mental boost. It’s good stress, but it’s stress nonetheless. Thus, doing a running warm-up before an interval run or training is integral to get the most benefits out of running.
Neil joins me in this episode to explain the steps in preparing for a running workout. We emphasise the importance of setting your mindset before training. We also cite different examples of run-specific movements, drills and breathing exercises.
If you are a runner wanting to do a running warm-up right, then this episode is for you.
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Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- You will learn about the role of stress levels and mindset when preparing for training.
- Know more about running warm-up and breathing exercises.
- Discover the importance of run-specific movements.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about my health optimisation consulting.
- Visit my YouTube channel to watch warm-up, workout and training videos for runners.
Episode Highlights [03:47] Understanding Your Bucket of Stress
- The bucket of stress is filled with things going on in your daily life. You layer exercise on top of it.
- Having an overflowing bucket and doing high-intensity interval running will cause more stress to the body, causing injuries and pain.
- Conduct a wellness check to assess your current state. The checklist includes sleep, nutrition, hydration, movement, energy, body, and stress.
- Listen to the full episode to learn more about computing your wellness score!
- Change your warm-up and training to suit how you are feeling.
- Neil is a father of three. He works out because he wants to be a superhero for his kids.
- Figure out what training means for you.
- Mindset is essential when doing a workout. You need to shift from work mode to training mode.
- Incorporate diaphragmatic breathing exercises to activate your body’s parasympathetic state.
- Spiky balls, rolling sticks and foam rollers are some of the tools you can use to activate your muscles.
- Expose your feet to neural stimulation to get them to move freely.
- Because the feet are connected to other parts of the body, activating it will start to relax the muscles and tissues above it.
- Activation may vary from person to person. Some people have a lot of tension in their bodies, while others are hypermobile.
- Static stretching is holding a single stretch in one position for 30 seconds or longer.
- Doing a static stretch lengthens and switches off the muscles, making them too relaxed. The body thus becomes too floppy.
- Static stretching has its benefits after a run or during a yoga session but not before a run.
- Dynamic movements allow the body to move more freely.
- The fascia connects the different parts of our body from our head to toes. Fascia lines run across the body.
- Warm-ups should help open, lengthen and move the fascia.
- Stretching and moving the fascia allow you to move better and run more freely.
- It is best to do run-specific movements and drills.
- Ball of foot hops and carioca are some of the drills to help you warm up. Listen to the full episode to learn how Neil does his warm-ups!
- Listening to music helps to have cadence. You may create playlists for before and after you run. If you’re doing a recovery run, you can use calmer music.
7 Powerful Quotes from This Episode
‘That's what training is about. It's not about the actual run where you actually get the results. It’s in the recovery phase’.
‘How you prepare your mind is going to be key when you understand your “why” before you warm up’.
‘A lot of people find their toes are bunched together and tight. If we can get some movement through those, we start to get more benefit from our running as well’.
‘Gone are the days of static stretching and standing on the doorstep during your quad stretch, holding. All you're doing there is switching the nervous system off and increasing your likelihood of injury and discomfort’.
‘You take which bits of the tools you want out of the toolbox, and then you start using them from your perspective’.
‘Looking at what you're currently doing, who you are and how much in a warm-up — what percentage you use each tool for will be quite different for each person’.
‘You will have — and I promise you this — a much more fun run, and you'll enjoy it more if you've put the time into this warm-up piece of the puzzle’.
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To pushing the limits,
Welcome to Pushing The Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential, with your host Lisa Tamati, brought to you by lisatamati.com.
Lisa Tamati: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to this week's episode of Pushing The Limits. Today, I have Neil Wagstaff, who is my wingman at Running Hot Coaching, and we're going to be talking everything about running and preparation for a good training session — how to tell if you're ready for that session that's on your list today.
We're talking about stress levels. We're talking sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. We're talking activating muscles. We're talking lymph and circulation and a whole lot of great info that you don't want to miss if you're into exercising, fitness or running. Before we go over to the show, though, I just want to remind you please give a rating and review to the show if you enjoy it. Share it with your family and friends.
We've been going now for five and a half years, and we've been in the top 200 globally ranked shows in health and fitness genre, and we really appreciate your support. And every one of those reviews and ratings really helps the show get seen by more people, heard by more people, so that they can get this great information that we're getting out.
Just want to also let you know, we are taking on a small number of clients on one-on-one health optimisation consulting. If you got a really tricky health situation, if you're not getting the results that you want in the normal world, if you are needing help navigating some complicated situations, then we'd love to help you. We only work with a very, very few people at a time. And that requires quite a commitment from us, from the research side of things in helping people optimise their health or navigate their way back to health. So if it sounds like something like you would like to know about, please email me email@example.com. We only work with a very few people at a time at that level. So just letting you know that that's available.
Now over to the show with Neil Wagstaff in Havelock North. And I hope you enjoy this fantastic interview.
Lisa: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to Pushing The Limits. This week, I have my wingman, Neil Wagstaff. Neil, how are you doing?
Neil: I'm good. Thanks, mate. I'm very good. How are you?
Lisa: It's very hot here. I'm sweating as well.
Neil: Here as well.
Lisa: Very humid! Right, people. Today, we have a really good webinar for you, podcast episode for you, all around the importance of — this one’s for runners, really — and it's all around runners warm-ups. Why do you need to do one, what's included, why you need to incorporate breathing into that warm-up routine. It's more than just running warm-ups, believe me, you'll get some great value, if you're a runner in this one, or if you're into fitness.
And we're going to be talking about the importance of running specific movements to prepare for your run. And we're going to be going over some of our top drills to activate your body and get you ready. So, Neil, we did a fabulous session yesterday on this, and it was so valuable we decided we got to record this for the podcast, so… Over to you, mate.
Neil: Thanks, mate. Thanks, and as you say, it is a lot more than just the runners warm-up, but it's… Gone are the days we just lace up your shoes and run out the door. That's what many, you know, we definitely did in the older days. And a lot of our clients we work with do, a lot of people, as you said in the introduction, as well, it’s not just the runners. It's in an exercise environment as well. So we put a lot of emphasis on this in the gym environment. So important, there should be some good nuggets for everyone.
So the first thing first before you even think about the warm-up is understanding about what we call your bucket of stress. So the bucket of stress, if you will imagine you've got that bucket sitting in front of you. And within that bucket, there's things that will fill it up. Now some of those things are going to be what's going on in your daily life. They're going to be your kids. They're going to be your work. They're going to be family. They're going to be other stresses that are happening, and then you layer exercise on the top of it.
So with the bucket stress, it’s understanding how full yours is. If you're going to go out and do a high-intensity interval run, where you're doing 1K intervals at 80, 90% of your max effort, and your bucket is already overflowing, then that run, those interval runs on top are just going to cause your body more stress or more loads, which will give you a pretty harsh response, which will then result in injuries, niggles and pain.
Neil: On days where your bucket is full, what you want to be doing is really changing your workout or changing your routine to suit how you're feeling. Okay, you know, I've had massive conversations over the years about the bucket.
What's your— give us your perspective of it and how you manage your routine a little bit differently now.
Lisa: Yeah, and I'm still probably a bad example some days.
Neil: You’re a good work in progress. You’re a good work in progress.
Lisa: Do what I say not what I preach sometimes. But it's really, I have really adopted the fact that it is important to do a warm-up when you're preparing for a run. And also to understand what we're trying to get across here is that just because stress is good for your body— I mean, sorry, running is good for your body or exercise is a good stressor, if you like, it is still adding to your total stress load.
So the level that Neil used to run it when he was not a dad of three little children and had a bit more time and didn't have a massive German, a couple of businesses to run, he could dedicate more intense time to training without breaking himself, if it makes sense. Now, because his energies are split in every which way, he has to be a little bit more careful how he prepares for an event, the time that he takes for it, and the time that he prepares his body.
So if your training plan says today, you should be going out and smashing a really long run or a really intense run, but you haven't got the resources because you had a really shitty night sleep, and you didn't drink enough yesterday, and you didn't eat properly, and the kids have been up all night, and goodness knows what else — you've got a lot of stress and a lot of worries on your mind — then you're probably not going to get to that adaption— adaptation, sorry, when you do that training, which is what you're actually doing it for.
It's not just about ticking the box because my coach said or my plan said that I had to do that today. And I've ticked the box, therefore I am good to go. It is about saying, 'Is my body going to respond to this training session today’? Yes or no? Or, ‘Would I be permitted to postpone that really intense workout to a little bit later, maybe tomorrow? And I'll get to bed early tonight. And I’ll drink well, and I’ll hydrate well. An I’ll do all the other bits and pieces as well. And then I might be a bit more prepared for that'. Does it make sense? So you’re not doing things when your body is not going to get the adaptations because that's what training is about. It's not about the actual run where you actually get the results; it’s in the recovery phase. So understanding where your body is at, which is a really good segue into our wellness checklist. Isn't that, Neil?
Neil: Yeah. So yes, you go through as well as, just asking yourself each day, where you're at a number of different things and things we get with our wellness checklist. And you can all do it at home as you listen to this. It’s a simple scale of 1 to 10. So 1 to 10 on these things we're going to talk about. How well did you sleep? That's the first one. How well have you eaten, and where you're at from nutrition point of view? Lisa's already mentioned hydration, number three. So how well have you hydrated? How well have you moved? What sort of exercise movement have you done in the past day? On a scale of 1 to 10. And then energy wise, where's your energy score at? 1 being the toilet, 10 being at rock and roll levels, you’re ready to party. And body, any niggles, any injuries? And your stress score, so 1 with the stress will be low and 10 will be good. That gives you a total score.
If you've got a score up over 50, and it'd be a good indication that you're ready to go and do a warmup that relates to what's in your program. If it’s saying that, we're doing the example, the 1K, then that puts us in a position that we should be ready to do it. If my score is lower, which some days it is, then I'll look at my program and go right, I've got intervals. But I mean, my score’s down at 40. So those two workouts don't match up then. So what I then do is go, ‘I can still go train, but my training may be a recovery run instead so I feel my energy levels back up’.
If you are continuously having low scores with this full stress bucket, it's not a runner's warm-up you want to be considering. It's about— it's really another strategy, which is how am I going to empty some of my stresses out of my bucket? Because your bucket should be managed on a daily basis. So that you, you know, 80, 90% of the time you're doing what your program says, it's just having the confidence and understanding that some days when things don't go perfectly you can tweak it.
Okay, so just to recap: sleep, nutrition, hydration, movement, energy, body, and stress, scale of one to 10. 1 being in the toilet, 10 being rock and roll. And we can send the, or add the…
Lisa: Yeah, we’ll put this in the show notes, actually, the checklist.
Neil: Wellness check to the show notes. Yeah, so that's understanding again really helps you manage your bucket. So before you've even warmed up, you're asking, what's my session I'm going to do? Now, I know what type of warm-up to do. The other bit to consider as well is really, really a little bit about your why. If you are… Many programs out there, what we've looked at over the years, designed by ex-professional runners, often male, without giving them a hard time, and often by men.
And in our business, we work with a lot of ladies. Over 70% of our business is working with females. And a lot of our athletes we're working with, mums or dads, and they have got busy work lives, busy family lives. So those programs are running five, six days a week just doesn't work. So ask the question as well, what's your why? And who are you? So for me, personally, as Lisa knows, my three little ones, Ellen, Cameron, Annie, I love the idea of getting dressed up as Superman. Okay, and we shared a couple of pictures of me dressed up as Superman.
So it's understanding what your why is and why you're doing it. I want to be a superhero for my kids. Therefore, the type of workout is different now, as Lisa said earlier, than I was doing in my… pre-kids. And when I was back in my 30s, then I was thinking more like a professional parkour athlete and wanted it to be doing. So therefore, the warm-up is going to be different. So what we're trying to do, and the big thing especially from Lisa's perspective as well, is how important mindset is. We're really big on that with what we do as well.
So understanding what mindset you're going into this workout in. So for me, I'm going in as a superhero, wanting to be a superhero, for my kids. Some people who are listening will be going in with a professional athlete mentality. So how you prepare your mind is going to be key when you understand your ‘why’ before you warm up. There's no need for me to warm up like a professional athlete if I'm wanting to go and warm up like a superhero. It’s a different mindset as I do that. Does that make sense?
Lisa: Yeah, it does make sense. And I mean, like, I'll give you an example out of my sort of, you know, day. So if I'm, like, full on busy with the business all day, and I'm sitting a lot at the computer and meetings, and blah, blah, blah. And then comes five o'clock and I go right, I'm shutting the computer, I'm out the door. And if I go out without any preparation, and we've had arguments with people, they said, ‘Well, I've just slowly increased my pace. Isn't that a warm-up’? No, it's not a warm up. And I'm still guilty of this on occasion when because you're like, you've got half an hour, and you got to get out the door. And you don't want to do a warm-up, and so…
But there's a couple of pieces missing out of that puzzle. One, there's a really important reason why you— firstly, you want to shift your mind, you've been in work mode all day. And now you got to, ‘Oh my gosh, I got to go and train’. And the last thing you feel like when you've been sitting for hours in a static position is to go and do a full on workout. So you have to change your mindset because you can fail before you get out the door. And a lot of people have this argument with themselves every single day. It's like, ‘That’s on my list, but I’m knackered from work, and I don't feel like going out the door. And I just want to go home and eat a packet of chips and sit on the couch’.
And so there's a couple of tricks that I use to get myself out of that thought process. So the couple of rituals that I do. So when I go and I go, ‘Right, I'm going to get into my training gear, regardless of whether I'm going out the door or not because I'm just going to do that’. And when I just go and do that, I put my training gear on, that is a ritual for me that I am… My body starts to go, ‘Oh, when we're heading for training. We better get ready’. And it gives you enough, a couple of minutes, just to get your mind in that new space. You've been in the work space or the driving space or whatever you've been in, and now you're entering a new phase, and you're bringing yourself into the present moment. You're getting your gear on, and for me, putting my running gear on as always, for me, like putting on my armor, and I'm getting ready for a battle of sorts. It doesn't always have to be a hardcore workout, but I'm getting ready for action.
Then the next thing I do once my gear is on, it's like, well, ‘I might as well just do a little bit of a warm-up and see how I go’. Like this is when I'm having those days when I don't want to train, you know, you know those ones. These are the tricks that I do to get myself out the door. So then I start to activate my muscles. And we're going to go through a whole list of things with Neil, right now. But just from a mindset point of view, when I start doing my dynamic stretches and my activation and my thing, and I'm getting my heart rate up. And then by the time I've done that for a few minutes, my mind is ready for the actually going out and then my body is also woken up.
So that's just a little bit of a mindset tip to get yourself out the door and bring yourself into the present moment. We also like to incorporate in that some breathing exercises, just, we could talk for hours on breathing. There is so much to learn about breathing. But just to give you just a simple quick exercise that you can do before you go out. So you've just come from work. You're going to do a box breathing exercise, where you're breathing in for four in the inhale, holding it for four, out for four with the exhale — a nice strong exhale — and then holding it for four. And you just do that box rhythm for maybe three, maybe four breaths. And in that time, close your eyes, seem to yourself into your body, start to feel your heart pumping, start to feel how do my arms and my legs feel, and you're just pulling your focus in, and then you'll be ready. Once the time you've opened your eyes, you'll be ready to get underway or get your warm-up sorted. So those are just a couple of little quick mindset tips to help you over that hump, whether it's in the morning and you get out of bed and you're going training or after work or whatever the case may be.
Neil: Perfect, Lisa. Let’s go with the breathing just to add in as well, it’s the… often, when you've not just flipping the mindset, you're also flipping things like the diaphragm. A lot of the time, if people have been in a sympathetic state throughout the day, which a lot of us are throughout the day now. Then if we go to, we're breathing through our upper chest and breathing through our shoulders, a lot of people will get massive results, just by them realizing that they can breathe properly into their lungs, and they're actually going out with not having enough energy to run because their breathing patterns, off. So getting that breath going, and as Lisa said, with the nasal breathing is a great thing to add in, a very simple thing to add in as well. As we go through this, this already, we haven't even got to the moving part yet, we've already had quite a long discussion, we want people to realise is we're creating a toolbox for you. That's a toolbox of things that you'll be able to pull out when you need them.
Some of you won't need the breathing as much as others, depending on what else has happened in your day already. It's a great thing to do. But some of you may find you've had quite a relaxing afternoon before you go run, and you're already breathing very nicely. So you don't need to use the breathing as much as someone that's been in a stressful situation for the afternoon or is in a very sympathetic state before they head out.
Lisa: Just briefly on the sympathetic and I think I've covered this in a couple of podcasts. But just to recap.. Sorry, took the computer over. You have a parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. So you, when you're in a sympathetic state, what we're meaning by that is that you're in a hypervigilant, alert, stressed out state, where you are producing quite a lot of stress hormones. Your cortisol levels might be up. Your adrenaline might be up. And your heart rate might be up, and your breathing, very often, is in the upper third of the chest.
And this is telling your body, 'I'm in fight or flight mode. There’s dangerous things happening to me’, even if those dangerous things are just emails and a shitty telephone call from the boss. Yeah, that isn't necessarily a lion or a tiger that, you know, used to be chasing us when we were back in the caveman days. But it's the same response in the body. And so what we’re wanting to do with this breathing exercise is to doing some diaphragmatic breathing, so that's breathing into the belly, and we're going to do sessions on breathing because honestly, that's a couple of bucks worth.
But it's all about flipping it, getting that sympathetic nervous system activated. So you have nerves in the bottom of your lungs. And when you do very good strong exhales are really important in breathing in with the diaphragm, you're actually activating those nerves at the bottom of the lungs and tuning on that parasympathetic state. Now that parasympathetic state is all about rest and digest and recovery and immunity and all those repair processes. Now, we are going into an exercise situation, but to start off in a place of not being stressed is a good place to start. So flipping your mind and flipping your body over from one thing into the next thing. So that's just a very brief touch on sympathetic versus parasympathetic states.
Neil: The next piece in the… or the next tool in the toolbox is going to be our rolling or myofascial release. So the tools we use for this are spiky balls, one of our favourites, rolling stick, which like rolling pin and a foam roller. Easy wins and low hanging fruit are always going to be your feet because they spend most of the day wrapped up in a shoe. And generally, our feet don't move as well as they should. Our feet should ideally move like our hands do, and our toes should move like our fingers. For most of us they don't so getting them out, getting them exposed to more neural stimulation and releasing any tight bits in the feet and getting them moving more freely makes a massive difference. You got...
Lisa: Can you explain the neural stimulation? I think that's— it’s really why they're activating those fibers in the feet is the connection to the brain and the coordination and…
Neil: Connection to the brain. One thing it does, it's like waking your feet up. So if I spent all day with my hand, for example, in a big glove and deprived it of senses and deprived it of being able to feel and touch things, I'd lose connection with what was going on around me. So I start to lose connection with understanding what was hot, what was cold and what things should feel like. If I can have that stimulation through my foot, and the great thing with a spiky ball, we're not going to smash it, is it starts to wake the feet up again.
So all I'm saying is, wake up, wake up! I'm sending messages from my feet through my nervous system up to my brain going, ‘Ah, that's how I move my big toe’. Ah, that's the big toe, with running real important. But that's how I move it. And that's how my other toes move. A lot of people find their toes are bunched together and tight. If we can get some movement through those, we start to get more benefit from our running as well.
Other people are going to have calves that are locked up and feet that are locked up, everything in your body is connected. So if we start to stimulate the feet, we get massive results with people who've got lower back pain or people who have got shoulder pain or neck pain, because the connection with the fascia in the bottom of your foot, it then runs up the back of your body up across your calf, your hamstrings, your hips, starts to relax a tissue above as well.
So simply two things that are going to happen as you do that. One is you're going to get some muscles relax that need to be relaxed. Then the other thing, you can actually start waking the feet up. Okay, depending on where, and it's gonna be very much dependent on where you're at as a person. Some people are carrying loads of tension in their body, and some people are hypermobile. So those that are hypermobile aren’t gonna need these tools as much as those that are rigid and stiff. Yeah, do I make sense?
Neil: You need these tools for what you need. And that's the emphasis we want to make is doing this whole thing when we finish talking about it. And its shortest version would be between five and eight minutes or longer version might be 12 to 15 minutes, but some of you are going to use more tools than others.
So some of you, what we've discussed already, may use the breathing more than the rolling. But feet is an easy win, calves are an easy win. Rolling around the hip area, the glutes is a very easy win, the quads and getting those areas both, switching off muscles that needs to be switched off. But also starting to wake up muscles that need to be woken up. And it's easy ways to do that with those tools. Gone are the days of static stretching and standing on the doorstep during your quad stretch, holding. All you're doing there is switching the nervous system off and increasing your likelihood of injury and discomfort.
Lisa: So just to explain what static and dynamic is for those who perhaps aren't familiar with that term. So static stretching, where you're holding a single stretch in one position for, I don't know, 30 seconds or something or longer. And that's not a good thing to do prior to a run or exercise because you're actually lengthening that muscle, and you're switching it off and making it too relaxed and then you're going to be able to flop it, for lack of a better description when you go out. And so you want to be waking it up, activating it, getting the blood flowing through it, but not turning it off.
The static stretching has its value but that comes after the run or if you're doing, say, a yoga session or something like that, then it's a different thing. But you wouldn't go into a yoga class and then go for a run, for example. That would be a recipe for injury, but you're wanting to activate these different areas. The other thing to note with the foam roller was don't smash the crap out of yourself like, it's not go hard or go home.
Cause I used to do that, to be fair, you know, when I first started with foam rolling years ago. It was like, ‘Ah, the more it hurts, the more I have to do it’, and, you know, as with everything, yep, you fight through the pain. But actually, the more we've learned about lymph and all the other stuff that we've learned in activating, you don't need to go full ball hard. If it's that painful, you should be around, what, six and seven, right, Neil, for what you're doing with the foam rolling. And you know, we have lots of videos and stuff on our YouTube channel if anybody wants to check it out, or, of course, joining our club and you'll find out all that sort of detailed information. So that's the activation phase. Your hips, your calves, your feet are a good place to start.
Neil: It's a good technique, just simple techniques to work with are released with awareness. So we've already talked about breathing. If you find a sensitive spot, you can apply some pressure to that, getting no more than sort of six or seven out of 10. Use your breath, in through your nose, out through your nose to actually release. Your nervous system, we’ve already talked about and your body is fully connected. So by using my mind to tell my brain and to tell my foot or the muscles in my foot to switch off or switch on, I can have that control over my body.
I'm using the spiky ball to stimulate it, which gives me something to feel and then I can say, right, wake up or tone down. So use the breath with awareness or release with awareness by using the breath to actually switch things off. If something feels tight, you can imagine the muscle actually switching off, toning down, almost like it's got a volume button on it and you're turning it down.
Okay. The next technique, which is a good one, is a pin and stretch. So if you find a niggly spot, thinking about rolling the calves. I'm sitting on the floor with my calf and leg up on a roller. If I find a niggly spot, then I can actually pin it. And then I can move my foot backwards and forwards. So I'm pinning and then stretching. I'm moving my foot in and out of plantar and dorsiflexion. Okay, and then actually flushing the muscles as well is another great technique. We're rolling up and down and across the muscle and a great way to… almost like imagining like your muscle’s like a sponge, where you're you're wringing it out and then putting it back in a bucket of water so it can absorb again, and wring it out. So you’re flushing out and getting fluid moving backwards and forwards.
Lisa: Yep. And so on. Yeah, that's absolutely, that’s key.
Neil: Right So next on our list. So now we've breathed, we've worked out where we're at, if we come back from the top, we've worked out more from mindset, breathing, rolling. And now we're going to look at our — the body is all connected — so we're going to look at our fascia. So the body is connected, again, like static stretching — gone are the days where we should be looking at the body in isolation, and looking at warming up or moving specific muscles like our chest on its own, or biceps or triceps on their own, or our thighs on their own.
The body is connected from toes to head. So the fact that it’s connected from toes to head, and there is myofascial lines that are running right across our bodies — front, side, back. We want to be in a position that the movements we're doing in our warm-up should help open, lengthen, move. Imagine your fascia like a superhero suit. I love talking about superheroes and the superhero suit. And you can— that superhero suit should move easily; you should be able to move easily in it. So what we're doing with these big fascia movements, is you want to be in a position where you're getting that superhero suit just to fit a little bit better or fit a bit more comfortably. And if you do that, then it fits more comfortably when you start running. You're running more freely, we haven't got any sticky bits. Okay.
Lisa: So like, just explain a little bit, you know, in two seconds, it's like the chicken skin is. I know. It's like each of these subjects we could do an hour on that seriously, but the fascia, so we all know we've got ligaments, we've got tendons, we've got muscles, but a lot of people really have a struggle. What the hell is fascia then? And what do you mean it's all over my body? And you get that? Like, you know, that…
Neil: Connects absolutely everything. In two seconds, fascia connects everything. It will connect the tissue, like you described the chicken skin on chicken. It's on the superficial level. It connects muscles, it connects bone, it connects your vital organs. So if there's anything locked up in any of that fascia, it's almost like a, like a web, if you look at it.
Lisa: That’s a good analogy.
Neil: And have a look at it. And depending on what parts your body you're looking at will depend on how dense that web is.
Lisa: Like a spider cobweb’s like.
Neil: Exactly, exactly that. You move that to the… To move freely, if I've got something as locked up and my fascia’s sticky, or it's not moving as well as it could, then it could be that I've got a shoulder pain on my left shoulder. And that's actually my right foot. So it’s looking at, and all we're doing with these big fascia movements and looking at myofascial lines, and very simply speaking of the anterior, posterior and downside of the body as well, you’re starting to get that suit to fit more comfortably. We're starting to iron out any of those sticky spots.
Now, if you find that as you're moving through some of these movements, that you find that you are stickier in some areas and others, it starts to let you know that you've got some imbalances there. Now on top of that, as part of dynamic movement, you then want to add in some run-specific movements. So if I'm going to run, I'm going to be spending time on a single leg. I want to, at some point in my warm-up, I want to be doing something that ideally is on a single leg and is involving opposite arm and opposite leg, like running will.
So the warm-ups and dynamic movements we include as part of our warm-up will include stuff that resembles running, gets blood flow and heart rate up, gets tissue open and ready to move and work and gets me ready for the run. So when I get into the run, I'm not spending the first 2 or 3K trying to iron myself out. Open up my fascia, I'm actually running comfy, my body is now awake; my blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and tissue are all up and warmer. And I'm in a position where I can move more freely. Yeah, do I make sense?
Lisa: Yep. So without having been able to show you visually here how to do the exercises, what we are working on is giving a little, some sample runner’s warm-ups to do that will show you some of the dynamic movements that we're talking about here to open up and get that fascia going. We haven't got that organised yet, have we, Neil. Hopefully, by the time this comes out, we might have something or coming soon. To give you a bit of an example of the types of things that we're talking about here.
So just to recap from the top once again because it sounds like a hell of a lot to do before every single run. But actually, we're talking five to eight minutes. Or if you're doing a really— that's the other thing, if you're doing a super intense workout, you need to warm up longer. Like today I did an interval session, so I spent more time on the rolling and the activating and the getting the heart rate up and doing the drills, which we'll cover in a second.
And before I actually went hard, because I don't want an injury. And the harder the training session is, the more I'm going to be engaging all my muscles to sprint, then I need to have everything at operating temperature. If you think about a car on a winter's morning, if you turn the motor off and then jam your foot on the accelerator and tear off, what's going to happen? Your car's not going to be very happy with you because it hasn't been able to warm up, get the blood going or the petrol going or whatever it is in a car, and get it up to warmth, get it up to speed, before you go flat tech if it makes sense.
So we've done the mindset, changing your mindset, putting your gear on, getting your head in a good space, tricking yourself into just getting out the blumming door for starters. Then we've covered off some breathing. We've covered off some activation exercises — rolling the feet, rolling the calves, rolling around the hips with the foam rollers and the balls. Then we've gone and looked at some warm-up exercises, which is activating all your fascia or getting your heart rate up and so on. And the last piece of the puzzle — and this should all take you five to eight minutes, 10 minutes if you're doing a hard session — the last part of the puzzle, Neil, what's it?
Neil: It’s the drills. So we do some run-specific drills that are same with the dynamic movement. And this becomes part of the dynamic movements, there's quite a lot of crossover here anyways. It's part of that movement. So things like we were talking about — opposite arm, opposite leg movement. So things like, some of our favourite ones are simple things like ball of foot hops, which is like a skipping movement, where we're just bouncing, landing on the ball of the foot with the heel kissing the floor.
So warming the body up, starting to get the elasticity and the muscle doing the job it should and getting ourselves ready to roll. We use some other run-specific movements like forward land, which is simple opposite arm, opposite leg movement, where we're starting to really work on the pull of the leg and the action of running. And then another good one that we get some great results with is our carioca, which is a crisscross of the legs. And you can do carioca and have a look, and you'll see that all, we've got videos of these drills, if anyone wants them.
Lisa: Yeah, email us.
Neil: Please let us know. And the whole idea of these is that, again, everything — hips are open, heart rate’s up, blood pressure's up, we're ready to move. And we've done some movements that are run-specific, so when we go run, we're actually ready to run. So to break it down and give you an example of what my normal warm-up would look like — I'll always run my feet. Okay, I will always go through my breathing, sort of goes from my breathing start and then go through and roll my feet, and I roll my calves, and I roll across the top of my hips and up either side of my back. So they’re my go-tos. From there, I will do three usually big fascia movements, one for the front of the body, one for the solid body, one for the back of the body. And then I go through two or three drills. I’ll go and run. On a recovery run that will take me about five minutes.
Okay, on a higher intensity run, as Lisa was saying before, on interval run, that might take me sort of 12 to 15 minutes. But it's you… You take which bits of the tools you want out of the toolbox, and then you start using them from your perspective. The other bit to throw in, just throw the mix, finally, is just looking as well, I'm a big fan of using music. We've talked about this quite a lot before as well as. So music helps me have a cadence. So if I'm doing an interval run, I find music really helps me with cadence to help me keep my cadence up. I'm doing a recovery run, then I don't enjoy using music as much because I'd rather you know, hang out and make it more of a meditative state and chill out from there.
So thinking as well about what's in your playlist. Does music motivate you and help add to the mindset? Or does silence help add to the mindset? Working out what you need for each run and should it be part of that session; I use music often in my warm-up. And the music I choose for recovery run is significantly different than one I use when I'm warming up for an interval run. One's going to be really lifting me intensit-wise and mindset wise, the other is going to be letting me know that this is going to be cruising, it's going to be laid back, it's going to be about recovery. Using music as well can make quite a significant difference.
Lisa: Because it's… Sorry. It's all about the mind part of the puzzle really. You know, you put, I don't know, Thunderstruck on when you're trying to do an interval session. And you're like, yeah! And you going for it, and the cadence helps you and so on. And that's using your body to activate those that, again, in that case, you're activating some adrenaline and getting that going, which you need for that session.
And then you know, you want to calmer ones with you if you're just doing a recovery where you don't want to be smashing yourself and you just want to be cruising, then you want a more cruising music. But just on that note, though, just be aware, if you're in traffic, you know, it can be really dangerous. And I've been hit by a car because I had bloody things in my ears, and I was unaware of the traffic around me. So just being a little bit cautious if you are out running on roads and crossing streets, especially when you come to intersections, and you can’t hear that car coming around the corner.
Neil: Pick what you're doing and where you're doing it.
Lisa: Be aware, be aware of your environment.
Neil: Looking, then you should have that toolbox in place now. Looking at what you're currently doing, who you are and how much of a warm-up — what percentage you use each tool for will be quite different for each person. So as we said at the start, some people will need to spend more time breathing. Some people will need to spend more time rolling. Others might need to spend more time with the dynamic warm-up. You'll all do a little bit of each but it's going to be, the percentage will be different. And when you use each tool, it’s going to depend on what you're doing and what's on your program.
Lisa: And one other point here is that you will have — and I promise you this — a much more fun run, and you'll enjoy it more if you've put the time into this warm-up piece of the puzzle. Because I know a lot of us are under time pressure and stress. And we've got like, ‘I've got 30 minutes, I've got to get my running today. That's all I've got, I don't want to spend 10 minutes warming up’. Okay, negotiate with yourself and try to do at least five minutes, because it's better to get that five minutes because that other 25 is going to bring you more than that extra five minutes of running, if that makes sense.
Because you— if you talk to runners, most people and if you're a beginner, you might not be aware of this, but the first 20 to 25 minutes are absolute crap for everybody all the time. You know, it's very rare, where you just run out the door, if you haven't warmed up, that you'll be enjoying yourself and your body will be stiff, it'll be sore, it'll be not activated, you won't have a good posture, you'll feel like your heart and your cardiovascular system isn't woken up.
All of that can be avoided if you do all of this in the preparation. It's like laying the foundation of a house. If you do it on quicksand, you're not going to have a very stable house. If you do it on concrete and you put your foundations and your poles in properly, you're gonna have a house that stands for a long time. You're going to enjoy your run a lot more. You know, today's session was was a classic example of that, you know, interval session full on, hardcore, big good workout, warm-up prior and the session wasn't nearly so difficult than if I just jumped out the door and done it. So don't underestimate that.
Neil: Good polling, Lis. I liked it.
Lisa: Don't underestimate a good warm-up. So people, if you've enjoyed this content, please share this with your friends and family. Share it, get it out there, get it out in the world, we really appreciate you doing that. And if you, you know, want to come and join us at Running Hot Coaching, this is what we do. And what we love is to help people with their running journeys and inform people. And as you can see, we take a very holistic approach to our running into our health programs and to all of the programs that we do.
Because we look at people as whole people and not as runners or not as ‘You've got a health issue or specific health issue’. We look at the whole person the whole time so that you can actually get the best performance because there's no optimal performance without optimal health. That's probably a good place to leave it, actually.
Neil: I like it.
Lisa: Well, thanks for joining us today. Thanks, Neil, for your wisdom as always — epic. Really appreciate you, right. And we'll see you again next week. Thanks, guys!
That's it this week for Pushing The Limits. Be sure to rate, review and share with your friends. And head over and visit Lisa and her team at lisatamati.com.