With summer coming up and lots of great running races on the calendar, the CPMC Sports Wellness Center is here with some tips to keep you training safe and injury-free before your race. Running injury-free is the best way to become faster and run longer on your race day!
1. INCREASE YOUR MILEAGE SLOWLY A good guideline is to increase your mileage no more than 5% to 10% per week. Add up the miles you ran last week, and multiply by 1.05 or 1.10 to find out the amount you should be able to run safely the next week.
2. PLAN EASY WEEKS INTO YOUR TRAINING Every 3 weeks, plan to cut your mileage by 25% to 50% to let your body recover. Use the free time to sleep more, cross train, and take care of any nagging sore spots. 3. CROSS TRAIN Mix in 2 to 3 days per week of cross training swimming, cycling, elliptical, and hiking are all low-impact activities that will let your body recover while maintaining your fitness. Yoga and Pilates are great choices to address the mobility and stability of your core, hips, and upper body that will all help you run more efficiently.
4. STAY STRONG Runners need to be strong and athletic too! On your cross training days, add resistance training to your routine to keep your core, hips, and upper body strong. Resistance training is a great way to improve your strength, posture, and power, which may help you with your running form and efficiency.
5. WARM UP AND COOL DOWN Proper warm up is important to prepare your body for the demands of running. Dynamic stretching, fast walking, light jogging at half speed, and body weight squats and lunges are good warm up ideas. Cooling down with a light jog, walking, and dynamic stretching is a great way to end your workout and prevent you from tightening up.
6. TAPER BEFORE YOUR RACE A taper is a planned recovery period immediately before your race to let your body prepare itself for the intensity of race day. Tapering involves minimal to no running, and instead replaced with light cross training, rest, and hydration. For a 5K, plan on about a 3-day taper. For a half or full marathon, plan on at least a 7-day taper. The longer the race distance, the longer the taper duration.
7. MAKE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT Take all the tips above, sit down with a calendar, and write out each day of training. Start at the race day and plan your training backwards starting with your taper. Stick to your training.
8. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY This may seem contradictory to the point made above, but if you are having a bad day, it is okay to take a day off. If you had a long day at work or are feeling overwhelmed, try running for a mile and see how you feel. If you are feeling worse, call it a day and plan on getting a good run in the next day instead.
9. GET YOUR SLEEP Get your 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, at least. A good rule of thumb is to calculate your average weekly running mileage, and add that many minutes of sleep to your nightly rest. Sleep is the time for your body to recover and heal from your run.
10. GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME OFF If you are planning on signing up for more than one race, try to schedule them at least 3 weeks apart. Give yourself one week to recover from your first race, and then ramp back up for the next race with a taper before the second race. Run smarter, not harder.
Good luck with your races this summer!
For more information on how to train correctly and efficiently, check out CPMC’s Running Clinic.