It seems like we are always in a race. A race in getting to work on time, a race to be on top of our goals and a race to get ourselves into better shape. Life should be a journey, but at times it could feel like a race.
Now, before we get deep into the philosophical world here (because that is a whole other topic of its own), I am literally talking about running a race. Seriously speaking, whether we are racing to the refrigerator, bathroom, work, or a racing event, there is some kind of motivational factor causing this mental stimulation that drives us in wanting to go from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time possible. Studies have even shown that there are huge motivational factors that play in the role of our desires in wanting to be at our best on race day. Of course that motivation varies from person to person, but in order for that to occur, we must choose to prepare for what’s to come.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for that arduous, yet extremely gratifying race you signed up for:
1) Give yourself ample time to prepare. You should give yourself a good 12 weeks, although the length and type of race may call for some adjustments in your training cycle.
2) Stay well hydrated throughout your training- or throughout life for that matter. Research has proven that dehydration not only decreases one’s performance, but also increases your chances of injury! My recommendation is to weigh yourself before your run and then immediately after. For each pound lost, drink an additional 24 ounces of fluid for proper replenishment.
3) Carbohydrates are not your enemy! Of course the type of carbs I am referring about should mainly be coming from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. When compared to protein and dietary fat, carbohydrates are the most efficiently broken down and metabolized form of energy for the body. Carbohydrates should make up at least 50% of your total daily caloric intake, while proteins and fats should both be between 20-30% respectively.
4) Get some sleep. There is no real magic number for how many hours one must sleep because everybody is wired differently thus having different needs. It is imperative that you get a good night’s rest, so that your body and mind can fully recover in order for you to be at your optimal state for your next training session.
5) Make sure you are staying limber. Performing dynamic drills before your run (i.e. high knees and butt kicks), static stretching after your run (holding the stretch for 20-30 seconds), and constantly foam rolling those knots that build up on your muscles are key to your success and longevity as a runner.
6) Take the day off! At least one day a week. Treat yourself to a massage, or if your not wanting to put your legs up completely, go for a long walk and plan it as being your active recovery day.
7) Mix up your workouts. Avoid staleness and boredom by performing a variety of different types and styles of training (i.e. long easy run, tempo runs, sprint intervals). It may even be a smart idea/strategy to give your hips, knees and ankle joints a rest and go for a pool workout, spin class (or bike ride), or even boxing!
8) Listen to your body. If you’re feeling extremely worn out but your supposed to do quarter-mile repeats at 85%, switch up your workout and/or just go home and give yourself some TLC. If your body and mind is feeling up for it the next day then go for it!
9) Make sure you are having fun! At the end of the day, you are doing something you enjoy (I hope) and that you CAN DO. Take that opportunity and make it an obligation to yourself in showing gratitude and kindness for the mere fact that you are able.
Stay blessed, be well, good luck!
– Omari Bernard