I enjoy running so much, that it is easy to skimp on the formalities. You know, the stretching. The strength exercises. The core work. Those annoying formalities that get in the way of just running out the door.
Despite my zest to just ‘up-n-run’, the hardest part of the daily workout is often motivating myself to do the warmup. More than just 1 or 2 thirty second stretches. Or, not getting all twisted up in my TRX ropes and calling that my warmup.
Today – as part of my challenge to think-outside-of-the-box – I decided to turn a much needed yard activity into my stretch-strength-core-training workout. A huge pile of leaves that looks like the droppings from an entire forest, lined 150 feet of curbside in front of our home. This leaf pile is waist high and dense from compression. Normally, I would run past this leaf pile and not even give it a second thought. Mother nature will figure out a way to deal with these leaves. Maybe by spring they will magically disappear?
But wait. What if I started the process of bagging these leaves – as a warmup to my run? I could bend, stretch, squat, lean right, lean left, push down, and balance on uneven terrain. Maybe the problem with my warmup routine – was that it needed more purpose?
By 7AM, I dragged 15 ginormous paper leaf bags to the base of my driveway, and decided it was time to tackle this leaf project as my run warmup. Now, 15 bags will barely make a dent in this huge pile. And that is exactly the point. It will make only a little dent. And what doesn’t get done today – becomes warmup foddy tomorrow. It’s a double-win. It feels more purposeful AND I can call it my warmup routine. Let’s get crackin’!
One hour later – 15 leaf bags are stuffed to the brim. I covered approximately an area of 15 x 15 feet. 15 bags – 15 square feet. And what a great warmup that turned out to be. My hamstrings were limbered up from bending over. I was warm, but not sweaty. My glutes got some strength training from all of the squatting. And there was the leaning, stumbling on the rocks, and shoving leaves around that worked my core and balance. It was my longest, and most limb-limbering warmup routine ever.
And, for the record – the run was particularly enjoyable. I felt loose, limber and ran faster than I have in weeks. It appears I’ll have many more days (even weeks) of this dual purpose leaf-bagging warmup routine.