Feature Reprinted from the Palisadian Post, Special Section: Guide to Fourth of July By: Susan Howard, Special to the Palisadian-Post
You may be aiming to beat your personal best or this may be your first race. Whatever your goal for the day, these helpful tips will give you the edge you need to make it enjoyable.
Have the right attitude for the race, Unless you are an elite runner planning on breaking the course record, it’s all about having fun and the freedom to move. So make it a day that’s stress free. That’s going to give you extra energy to enjoy the rest of the day and stay happy and relaxed.
Having the functional movement pattern down is key to preventing injuries and improving your run overall. Perfecting form is vital to optimize efficiency and speed. Optimize arm swing with arms slightly less than a right angle, with movement initiating from the shoulder. Keep the shoulders relaxed, engage the core and let your leg stride lead from the knee. Remember to step from heel to toe unless you are in sprint mode.
Replace your running shoes if they are worn or old. Shoes lose their support and shock absorbency after use and time. But if you buy a new pair, make sure to break them in a with a few runs prior to race day.
Figure out which foods give you the most energy. Some people do well with complex carbohydrates before a race while others like to be lighter with a protein shake or meal replacement drink. Do what’s best for you and that is easy on your digestion. Your pre-run meal should be 90 minutes before the start of the race. Remember to drink water before, during and after your run to hydrate your body properly.
Run with a friend to motivate and encourage each other. Just make sure that you both have the same goals so that it’s supportive and fun!
Take the day off before the race to be fully fresh and muscles recovered. No need to train the day before with a hard workout. This allows your body to recover fully and get the benefits of your training.
Everyone gets excited at the beginning of the race, but make sure to start at a reasonable pace that you can maintain. Save that spurt of energy for the finish line.
To keep everyone safe, please enjoy the race from the back of the pack if you have a stroller or dog. This will help to keep the path clear for faster runners and avoid any surprises with leashes and strollers becoming obstacles on the course.
Susan Howard is a Partner and Director of Lifestyle Performance Training at Studio K in Pacific Palisades. Her philosophy of lifestyle performance training is to incorporate all of the functional movements in a creative, efficient program to help individuals #train4life.