Spring is here... so WARM UP!

Warm ups have so much more meaning than free coffee refills! They are in fact a key ingredient to running longer, feeling better and staying off the injury list. Interestingly, not taking the time to properly warm up before settling into your workout running pace is definitely not a mistake exclusive to beginners! In fact, many experienced runners simply lack the patience that it takes to walk or hold back their pace and work slowly into each run.

Perhaps you’ll recognize a few of these more common reasons that runners of all levels use as an excuse for not warming up:

  • I barely have enough time to run, I don’t want to waste it warming up
  • Warm ups will slow down my total running time
  • I don’t like walking
  • I don’t like running slow
  • I like to run even splits for my whole run
  • I’m not looking forward to this particular run, I just want to get it over with
  • I’m not someone who needs a warm up

The Benefits of Warming Up

Warm ups serve many purposes not limited to the following:

Muscles - They loosen and heat up your heart and other muscles that surround and stabilize your tendons. So giving your musculature time to warm up helps to prevent acute and chronic injuries such as common tendonitis issues. Warm muscle fibres are more flexible and willing to take the stress that the workout significantly provides

Lungs - They acclimatize your lungs to the air you’re running in (indoor or outdoor) – particularly when you are running in colder climates, or even some really early morning runs when the humidity looms, giving your respiratory system time to adapt to the temperature and content of the air will be much more comfortable than going out fast and hard from the beginning

Energy - They allow your body time to establish energy partitioning (how much fat and how much glycogen it needs to fuel your run) – your body needs to produce energy from your body to fuel your run. To achieve this, it will choose a combination of fat body fat and sugar (glycogen stored in your muscles). Most folks like the idea of burning up their body fat over their glycogen, especially since you have a very limited amount of glycogen of which you never want to run out of. The trick is fat is burned aerobically or in the presence of oxygen where glycogen is the source of choice in the absence of oxygen.

So the slower the pace, to an extent, the higher the ratio of fat your body will use as an energy source. As you increase your pace the ratio will change towards more glycogen, but your body is not as sensitive to pace changes after you’ve sufficiently warmed up. It’s almost as though your body by this point is quite set in its ways and will stubbornly reluctantly change. When you are running long, settled into your pace and burning a good ration of bodyfat over glycogen, you feel good. This is why there is a strong co-relation between properly warming up and more consistently experiencing a runner’s high!

Take the time to warm up and you will feel better early on and run stronger and longer than you thought you initially could. With a proper warm up, just think of how many former miserable 5 milers would turn into enjoyable 8 milers!

An Endurance Meal from Rachy's Table

Here is an excellent meal to provide a nice slow release of energy and top off your glycogen stores the day before a long run or distance event such as half or full marathon.

Whole Wheat Penne with Arrabbiata Sauce


  • 2 lbs plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup of cubed pancetta
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of red or white wine vinegar
  • 12 oz whole wheat penne pasta, uncooked
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper & ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup each chopped fresh oregano & basil
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the tomatoes, onions, pancetta and garlic in a roasting pan. Toss with 2 tsps olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add vinegar then toss to coat and roast for another 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until el dente and keep warm.
  4. Transfer roasted tomato mixture to a blender or food processor. Work in batches if necessary. Puree until smooth and transfer to a medium sauce pan.
  5. Add tomato paste, pepper, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes till slightly thickened. Add fresh oregano and basil.
  6. Mix with penne and sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese and parsley.

Nutritional Breakdown - per serving:

  • 461 Calories
  • 7.9 grams of fat
  • 18.5 grams of protein
  • 75.1 grams of carbs (that’ll help keep the wall away!)

Run to the 70s in the Right Tempo!

Here's is this month's running music playlist. As with all running playlists, aim for 90 steps per minute, but if this seems too fast for you, start out with a few slower ones. When it comes to ideal running cadence, the tunes in the list that are green are 'right on the money'.

A few running form reminders:

  • Land softly and work on quickly bring your feet off the ground
  • Bring your feet up directly under your butt
  • Lean forward (like you are falling) at your ankles not your waist
  • Maintain a good posture from head to feet, but relax your shoulders

Here is the link to your 70s playlist in downloadable pdf format:

Good Running Music 70s

MYRG Quote of the Month

People with goals succeed because they know where they're going. It's that simple.

Earl Nightingale

Until next month, here's to you keeping pace with your running goals!

Go to Meet Your Running Goals Home page.