Getting good and warm before your workout is important, regardless of the weather. But if it is chilly (or, you know, downright freezing outside) in your neck of the woods, it’s that much more important that you get your body up to operating temperature before you begin.
Even among those of us who do take the time to get warm, quite a few don’t really focus on doing a thorough job and getting it right. Think of yourself as a car that’s been sitting overnight. You don’t just fire it up, rev the motor a couple of times and consider it warm. If you watch the temperature gauge, it actually takes a little while to build up heat.
Your body is the same way. Jogging for five minutes or doing some jumping jacks simply won’t get your body temperature up to where you want it for a hard run, especially if it’s cold out.
Some things to keep in mind during your warm up:
You should sweat. Consider those first drops of sweat to be like your car’s temperature hitting that little hashmark in the middle of the gauge. If you aren’t breaking a sweat, you aren’t quite warm.
Breaking a sweat can be tough. There’s a good chance that you’ve never really broken a sweat during a warm-up. That’s because for most of us, it does take a little bit of work to get there. Make sure you’re dialing up the intensity to get where you need to be.
There’s more than just jogging. Remember, you don’t have to break a sweat with jogging alone. Try some quick, high-intensity moves like pushups or cruches. Bootcamp is full of good ideas for this. If you are running (or even running in place) do high steps, getting the knees up higher than your belt line.
You can do it inside. Warming up out in the cold can be tricky because (A) you’re fighting the air temperature as well as your resting body temperature and (B) as you do warm up, you end up wanting to shed layers that you’re now stuck with five minutes down the road. High-intensity running in place (again, high knees) or other stationary exercises are great ways to get your temperature up before you step into the cold.