In Run Like a Champion, one of America’s most versatile and accomplished runners, Alan Culpepper, reveals the best practices of the best runners. Among the many practices Culpepper covers in his book are warm-up drills and light stretches as well as cooldown stretches, all found in Chapter 8: Injury Prevention, Maintenance & Recovery.
In this chapter, Culpepper urges runners to warm up before every run of moderate or higher intensity, including these elements in this order:
- Jogging 1-3 miles.
- Light stretching.
- Dynamic drills.
Culpepper says the biggest secret to injury prevention is stretching every day. Stretching, he says, is not about flexibility, range of motion, or balance. It’s about promoting muscle health and recovery.
After these moderate or harder workouts, Culpepper says that runners must perform a cooldown because skipping the cooldown sets runners up for an injury. Without a cooldown, blood flow drops dramatically and muscles tighten, which sets the stage for injury during the following workout.
Culpepper’s cooldown protocol includes:
- Jogging 1-3 miles.
- More intense stretching, preferably immediately.
In the Run Like a Champion Drills and Stretches video series on YouTube, Culpepper makes the case for adding warm-ups, drills, stretches, and cooldowns to your workout routine. With the help of professional runners Stephen Pifer and Laura Thweatt, Culpepper demonstrates the dynamic drills and stretches, showing their ideal form. Chapter 8 of Run Like a Champion explores how and when to perform these in more detail, but these videos should offer a helpful visual guide for readers.
Clicking the video above will play all 22 videos in the Run Like a Champion video series, which is about 15 minutes long. Here is an index of individual drill and stretching videos:
Run Like a Champion: Why Runners Should Do Dynamic Drills
Run Like a Champion Drill: Forward Arm Circles with Skip
Run Like a Champion Drill: Side-Skip Arm Circles
Run Like a Champion Drill: Rolling Walk
Run Like a Champion Drill: Grapevines
Run Like a Champion Drill: A-Skip
Run Like a Champion Drill: Hamstring Extensions
Run Like a Champion Drill: Butt Kicks
Run Like a Champion Drill: Bounding
Run Like a Champion Drill: High Knees
Run Like a Champion: Why Runners Should Stretch
Run Like a Champion Stretch: Standing IT Band Stretch
Run Like a Champion Stretch: Quad Stretch
Run Like a Champion Stretch: Hamstring Stretch
Run Like a Champion Stretch: Calf Stretch
Run Like a Champion Stretch: Abductor Stretch
Run Like a Champion Stretch: Glute Stretch
Run Like a Champion Stretch: Sitting IT Band Stretch
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Run Like a Champion reveals all the guidelines, tips and tricks, workouts, mental training, and nutritional practices that Olympic runners use. By making this Olympic approach part of their running, runners of all levels will make their goals achievable from 5K to marathon.