Stretching before and after a race are important to keeping your body healthy and safe. It is best to spend 5 to 10 minutes before any running is done. Blood flow is increased, muscle tension is decreased, and you will have a much easier time running those longer distances. Your performance and strides become longer as a result of organizing and smart planning.
Warming Up & Cooling Down
After stretching, warming up is important to maintaining goals and performance during the run. Walking 5 to 10 minutes before any running is preformed allows for muscles to loosen up, breathing to become steady, and gets blood flowing properly so it can appropriately move throughout the body. Cooling down is just as important because it allows for a chance to rest, the heart rate to come down, and muscles to relax.
Goal setting is important in turning any passion into a habit. Keep track of your daily runs, and the time to completion. If you own a device such as a Fitbit, utilize that to keep track of your blood pressure, oxygen, and other vitals that you can track and improve upon. In doing so, your rate of performance will increase and it will be easier to stretch these goals moving forward.
Think positive thoughts. Receiving motivation from peers, and sponsoring organizations will always be the reason for finishing a race will be the driving reason why a person chooses to sign up. Most will gain energy from those who are cheering from the sidelines so be sure to take that in as well.
Work Your Way Up
When beginning, run no more than 2 to 3 days a week. Your body is not used to the new stresses. It has to build itself up to become stronger. Avoid burning yourself and your body out by running each day, at least at the start. You could risk unnecessary injury or heat exhaustion.
During summer months, it is important to dress in light clothes and a cap in order to absorb the sun and heat. The risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion will be cut back. Likewise, if running at night, wear a flashing reflector on your arm to alert traffic in the community that you are on the road and they need to proceed with caution.
About half an hour before, during, and after the training session; be sure to properly rehydrate yourself in order to replenish what was lost in sweat, and allow your body to cool off. In addition, you must plan to have enough water or liquids ahead of time, especially if you plan on training for longer distances.
Resting Before the Race
Once you’re in the focus of training, it is often difficult to take breaks, or take a day off. Your muscles and lungs need time to rest in order to give your body the proper relaxation time it needs before going into a race. Make sure you get enough sleep the night before the race. The day before, be sure to stretch your arms and legs.
It is important to keep a steady speed as you progress in training. Be careful not to pick up the pace too quickly early on, or your energy will become depleted sooner than necessary. It’s more important to have stored energy for the steady build up throughout the race. The built up energy can be used as you approach the finish line.
Know Your Limits
Your body knows when it’s time to slow down or rehydrate. Trust it. This rule also applies to if you’re in pain or think you become injured during the race. Pushing too hard where your health is at risk is never worth it. Knowing your own limits must be vital to any workout situation. Ignoring them may cause severe problems.