Do Warm Up Before the Race
Like nutrition and gear, a proper warm-up can either assist or detract from a solid race performance. I am always astounded when I learn that many athletes (even elites) do not have an organized warm-up routine, but rather a haphazard, ever-changing one. I've seen an athlete warm up for 35 minutes for one race only to witness the same athlete do more than 80 minutes the following weekend.
Have a routine and stay with it. What you do on race day should be the same warm-up you did before harder workouts during training. Your warm-up should be second nature. The late British coach Harry Wilson, coach to former world record-holder Steve Ovett, was fond of saying, "Find a routine and then stick with what works."
For those lacking any semblance of a warm-up routine, I suggest our "ZAP" warm-up:
- 12-14 minutes of light running
- Light stretching
- 5 to 8 minutes of additional running at a slightly quicker tempo
This second chunk should conclude about 10 minutes before your race to give you just time enough to grab some water, change into your lighter-weight shoes if necessary, and get to the line.
Low-key build-up races and weekly hard workout sessions will give you the opportunity to play with your race-day preparations. You'll discover what works well for you nutritionally, which shoes are best, how long should your warm-up should be, etc. By the weekend of your target race, all should be second nature. Race well!
Sign up for your next race.