So it’s race day. You’ve done your training, you’ve gotten into the best shape you can and you’re ready to run your best. The work is done and all you have to do is a proper warm-up to get the blood flowing. How should you do it?
Strides are short bursts of speed for about 20 seconds over a short distance. Many coaches and runners will suggest adding these in before hard workouts or after runs to get your body adjusted to running at speed. Adding about four to six before the race prepares you for transitioning into race pace and gets the blood flowing.
Don’t: go hard for too long
Don’t exhaust yourself. You’ve already done the speed and endurance work. Anything above short strides or a jog before the race could cause you to start to tire.
Don’t: core exercises
Doing core work minutes before the race is going to do nothing to help. You may even end up with a strain. Doing ab work in the first place is about adding strength to your body bit by bit over time not minutes before go-time.
If you can do an easy jog on the course to check out the fast parts and tricky parts and plan it out, that’s even better. Keep it slow!
Do: A-skips, butt kicks, cross overs, leg swings
These exercises are common ones to get the muscles ready to race and get the blood flowing. These will help stretch the muscles but should be practiced a number of times beforehand.
Don’t: attempt new exercises
Like anything else with running, race day is not the time to change it up.
Workouts are the time to test things for race day. If the warm-up works for your sessions on the track, it works for your warm-up before the gun goes off.
Don’t: do strength work of any kind
This is like the ab workout no-no rule. You’ve done the muscle work and whatever you do now isn’t going to help you for your race. Doing intense conditioning work day of is kind of like last minute cramming the morning of an exam.
Do: wear sweats
If there’s a chance of muscles getting chilled, wear the sweats. Letting them cool down can lead to race day disaster.