Pulled thigh muscle, pain in calf, sprained ankle – we all know this very well. You cannot really avoid accidents, however, you can reduce the risk of injury through effective warm-up routine before your run! This time, I asked Marcela Capkova – past FMBB World champion in Canicross and Bikejöring for some tips. An effective warm-up Routine reduces the risk of injury by preparing your body for upcoming activity. Warm-Up prevents injuries prepares your body for physical stress Warm-Up is an important part during an athlete’s preparation for performance which unfortunately is neglected by many. It eliminates the risk of injuries and prepares you for stress. Let’s have a look on how a proper warm-up routine for agility and canicross athletes should look like. Stage 1: warming up Trotting at light pace Duration: individual. I prefer 5-10 min. Max when getting ready for agility and around 1 km for canicross. The first stage of your warm-up is mostly about trotting in light and comfortable pace – adjust speeds to your current fitness level. The goal is to raise your heart rate slowly without putting to much strain on your body. If you prefer, you can include your dog in this stage of warm-up as well. Stage 2: dynamic stretching Selected exercised with focus on running – see the video for inspiration I always choose 3 exercises based on current mood and what part of my body currently „hurts“ in order to warm it up properly. After initial warm-up you come to the second stage, which is dynamic stretching. Active stretching reduces the risk of injuries and, in particular, improves your performance. This way you can boost your performance through performing exercises which require the muscles move in their full range of motion. This is not the case with static stretching, which is more suitable during cool down after performance. There are many dynamic stretching exercises, choose the ones you like the most. Stage 3: Running drills and spurts For agility I prefer to perform 2 x 10 m of each ABC running drill: skipping, butt-kicks, straight leg running and running sideways. At the end I run 2-3 short spurts. The last stage of warm-up is focused on the actual running. It includes ABC running drills and exercises and I recommend adding a few „spurts“ at maximum pace at the end of your warm-up. Again, the pace, amount of repetitions and total duration of warm-up is very individual. It all depends on your currently fitness shape. Ready to train? Marcela offers online courses to improve your running skills. Run Class course lasts 6 weeks and focuses on improving your running technique for agility and canicross. Plans are tailor-made only for you and also if needed, for your canine athlete. Use our promo-code: HAVOHRAVORUN in your message to Marcela and get 10% discount! Read more details by clicking the link, next Run Class starts on 6 April 2020. Find more info at dognrun.cz Why Warm-Up? Warm up prepares your body for upcoming physical performance. Afterwards you should feel fresh and energised and not tired or completely worn-out. If you do not have enough time to perform the complete warm-up routine, try to make at least a shortened version of it. Ideally, I like to warm-up myself first and afterwards I go and prepare the dog. If I am short on time, for instance due to course walk, I try to complete my warm-up routine together with my dog. Any warm-up is better than stiff thighs during spurt or pulled calf muscle. Train hard! Martina About Marcela Marcela is fitness and running couch. In 2017 she became the FMBB World Champion in canicross and in 2018 in bikejöring as well. In the past she was part of Czech national agility team at the European Open, IMCA, FMBB. During her athletic career she won several races, e.g. Slovak National Champion for 800 m run.