Many people forget to warm up and rarely, if ever, cool down. This is increasingly important as we age and can dramatically improve performance, speed recovery, and reduce your risk of injury. The best way to warm up for a run or race is to walk! Start slow and increase your pace – 10 minutes should do the trick. As you slowly pump more blood into your legs from your torso you’ll feel your joints loosen. When the race is over repeat this process to reduce the stiffness that can occur from blood pooling in the legs. Follow up with light stretching at this ideal time when the body is warmest.
A common mistake I see many people make who are new to racing is that they change their routine just before the event. At the last minute they decide to try the latest running shoe or a new ‘super food’. Don’t do it!! Change requires time to adjust to the new ‘thing’ and you don’t have time! A new shoe could cause foot problems – a new food may trigger stomach upset right on the starting line! Stick with your old system(s) and what got you there – between races is the time to try something new.
Your most intense training should take place well before the actual race. Depending on the distance – ‘Tapering’ should be considered as the event gets closer. For a 10 miler, like the Broad Street Run, the week preceding the race should be moderate in intensity with longer rest intervals than usual. There are many variables, like your race experience and history but the idea is to have your body fully recovered, fresh, and raring to go!!
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