A few months ago, in preparation for my first marathon, I strained my soleus muscle. Amongst other things, I started out running when my body was completely cold. Normally I walk a bit because I’m waiting for my Garmin to sync up with the satellites (do you realize how amazing that would be to someone from 100 years ago, and how casually we talk today about a watch that communicates with something flying around in space?!), so I’ve at least had a little bit of warm up before I start running. But on this day my Garmin was already synced up, so I stepped out the front door and just started running, and I immediately felt something that an hour later became an injury that almost kept me out of my marathon.
Since then, I’ve taken warming up more seriously. Before I run, I always ride my bike on my trainer for 10 minutes. I ride hard enough that I’m sweating by the end, even though it’s still winter here in Utah and I ride in the garage with the door open. I’m sure it won’t take 10 minutes to get me good and sweaty during the summer, although I’ll probably still do the 10 minutes just to be safe. Plus since I’ve generally done a bike ride the day before each run day, I figure it gives me a chance to work any soreness out of my bike muscles before I start running. It’s just 10 minutes, but I feel like it makes a big difference in terms of preventing running injuries. Then again, what do I know? So don’t take it from me, take it from my world-famous triathlon coach who also says it’s a good idea.