Skip to main content
Running / May 2019
Danielle Rines, Reebok

The Warm Up Plan You Need for a Ragnar Relay

Whether it’s before or in between legs, these warm ups will help prep your muscles for those runs!

Warming up as a runner is essential to performance. In a Ragnar relay, it’s even more essential because you’re putting your body through so much by running at different lengths and at different times over the course of two days. So while a training plan is critical to get you prepared, the warm ups are key to keeping you moving throughout the journey.
That’s why running expert Chris Hinshaw has designed a warm up regimen that you can use before each of your Ragnar legs—or in between—to keep your muscles alert. Warm ups for peak performance need to be something that gets your heart rate up.
“If we want to perform, we want to prepare the muscles for the movement we’re about to do, in this case running and then we also want to warm them up to the speed of the intensity that they’re about to experience so that they’re not surprised.”
Stretching is also a key component to warming up, something Hinshaw says can really make or break your stride.
“When you finish your leg you must perform static stretching. So there’s difference between static stretching and dynamic stretching. A static stretch works on lengthening the muscle, it allows you to recover faster.”
The common mistake that most runners make is confusing certain stretches in their warm ups and that can make a huge difference.
“Before you run you want to do the dynamic drills I provided because you don’t want to stretch muscle. If you stretch it before you run it’s going to feel like you’re running in mud or sand—it’ll feel soft. Before a run, you want to feel explosive, sharp, and you want to be tight and those dynamic drills will work the range of motion and also make sure you’re responsive.”
Hinshaw also suggests that part of the warm ups mindset is staying fueled up! Often times during such an exciting event like a Ragnar it can be easy to forget about nutrition but don’t fall into the trap!
“Through your training you have to have a nutrition plan that allows you to replenish the lost water and carbohydrates from doing that leg and that needs to happen in that thirty-minute window after you finish. So make sure that the protocols you develop while training happen when you’re sitting in the van after that first leg if you don’t it’s going to be you at a deficit for legs two and three.”
Hinshaw broke down some of his tougher warm ups below so you can get them just right and a full warm up plan below!

Jumping Jack Shuffle

Stand tall.  Perform a lateral side step shuffle while moving your arms in a jumping jack motion.  Shuffle back to the starting point while facing the same direction. 

Leg Swings Front/Back

Hold onto a stable object for balance.  Turn sideways so that support is on one side of the body.   Tighten abs and glutes as you gradually swing your inside leg forward and backward while increasing the range of motion.   Focus on maintaining a straight back and squared hips. Repeat on your other leg. 

Leg Swings Side (lateral)

Face forward with both arms outstretched holding a wall or stable object for balance. Swing one leg away from the body and then across the front of the body. Keep your leg straight. Increase the range of motion gradually until you reach your max comfortable height.  Focus on tightening your abs to keep your torso stable as you swing your leg side to side from your hips.  Repeat on your other leg. 

Over Hurdle (Walk Over)

Pick up knee to above hip height and angled out to the side for your foot to go over an imaginary hurdle. As knee clears the hurdle, bring the knee over to the front center of the body.  Place the lead leg vertically down on the other side of the hurdle without reaching the forward from the body. Repeat on your other leg.

Prime Time (Marching)

Bounce from leg to leg by pushing off the ball of your foot (calf raise) while flexing the toes upward as the foot leaves the ground.  This short stride is all done while the legs are straight. while kicking your straight leg up in front of your body like a marching soldier.


‘Take a step forward with your left leg, bend down while keeping your left leg straight as possible and touch your left toes with both hands.  Your right leg and your torso will be parallel to the floor.  Repeat on your other leg.
Check out Chris Hinshaw’s 16-week training plan, build your base, block 1, block 2 and block 3!
Running / May 2019
Danielle Rines, Reebok