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My favourite warm up games

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

One of my favourite things to do when I’m leading a running session is games during the warm up. A standard warm up we do for sessions at my running club are dynamic stretches followed by drills and strides. Games are an alternative that are a bit of fun for the runners and still make sure they are warmed up.

My favourite warm up game involved setting up a large rectangle with cones. Around the cones, I lay out a number of hoops. I play music and call out a drill for the runners to do around the cones, it can be skipping, high knees, butt kicks, side steps.

When the music stops, the runners all have to jump in a hoop. There can be multiple runners per hoop, but anyone not in a hoop has to do 5 star jumps. When the music starts again, I call out a new drill and remove a couple of hoops to make the scramble to find one a bit more fun.

Here is a video of the game in action at one of our sessions.

Another game that I have seen work well has all the runners line up in two rows facing each other, so everyone has a partner. They should be about an arm’s length apart, and there is a cone in between each of them. The coach calls out various body parts, e.g. knee, head, foot, and everyone has to touch their knee, head, foot.

After a few turns, the coach will yell ‘cone’, and everyone has to try to grab the cone between them and their partner. The quickest person in each pair wins. You can play to best of three or five, or whatever works for the group. It’s always fun to through in a few words like calf, chest, cheek to see if anyone goes to grab the cone. The game is played quite quickly so people are moving and using their reflexes.

Something else that is fun is knee tag. This game also has people in pairs. Each person has to try to touch their partners knee, without having their partner touch theirs. You can again play to best of three or five, or play for a set period of time then switch partners. There is a video of this here –

I try to avoid anything that eliminates people or has people waiting their turn. After all, it’s supposed to be fun, inclusive and get people warmed up!

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