With the thermostat dropping, it is more important than ever to get those muscles warmed up before you head out on your run. There are right and wrong ways to warm up though.
As I talked about in my blog post “Do You Know How To Stretch” on June 26, 2014, I talked about the benefits of dynamic stretching. The goals of dynamic stretching are to increase your heart rate and get your blood flowing. It will also open up your joints and prepare you for your run.
In the past we were told to bend down and touch our toes (static stretching). In doing so, we were trying to stretch cold muscles. Dynamic stretching consists of active movements that are not held in any particular position. Some of my favorite dynamic stretches include toe kicks, butt kicks, walking high knees, and hip circles. By doing dynamic stretching, you are getting your muscles ready for the punishment of running in the cold.
Here is a video by The Runners Academy that goes over several dynamic stretches that you could incorporate into your workout.
After your run, it is okay to do those static stretches that you are used to since your muscles are already warm. Stretching after a workout is just as important as stretching beforehand. I hope this helps you prepare for your cold weather runs.