Is Your Body Ready for a Running Race? By Marni Sumbal|
Running can great for the body and mind. However, a weak, poorly nourished, sick or injured body can leave you questioning your ability to get to a running starting line. In contrast, a well-trained, fueled and motivated body is an amazing piece of work, designed to reach goals and to live a healthy, quality life. Here are a few suggestions to make for a fun and active running season.
Quality training – have a plan
A training plan will not only improve your fitness but will keep you on a schedule that focuses on quality training, thus eliminating the junk miles (which leading to injuries, burn-out and overtraining).
Allow ~4 weeks to gradually adapt to running. Focus on running drills, cross training (ex. elliptical, swimming, cycling, yoga, anti-gravity treadmill) and functional strength training. Don’t forget to stretch your hip flexors regularly and warm-up before starting your workouts .
- Don’t hesitate to include a walk/run strategy into your training/racing strategy to reduce residual fatigue and to enhance recovery.
-Avoid being strict on miles, time, heart rate or pace. Perceived exertion can be a helpful training “tool”.
-Even if you desire a change in body composition, do not fear sport nutrition to assist in quality training, before, during and after activity.
-Invest in quality training/recovery tools, such as a GPS-enabled heart rate device, massages and compression gear.
-Can you comfortably run (or run/walk) 45 minutes? Consider adding a mix of intervals (ex. track), tempo workouts (maximal sustainable pace) and long runs (group runs are encouraged) to boost aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
-Don’t rush the “intro” phase to help prepare the mind and body for the upcoming training plan. Also, don’t overlook the importance of rest and active recovery.
-Give yourself at least 3 months of periodized (base, build, peak, taper) training to prepare for your upcoming race. The more time you have to gradually progress with training, the fitter, faster, healthier and stronger you will be on race day.
- It is easy to overlook your current health status when you have ambitious and exciting fitness goals. Be sure to consult with your physician prior to starting a new physical challenge.
-The ultimate goal is to train consistently well, with a trained body and to have the mind as the only limiter on race day. Good luck and have fun!!
Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Marni works as a Clinical Dietitian at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, is the owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition, LLC and provides one-on-one consulting in the Jacksonville, FL area. Marni is a Registered Dietitian, holding a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). As an elite endurance athlete, she is also a Level-1 USAT Coach and a 5x Ironman finisher. Marni is a 110% play harder, Hammer Nutrition, Brooks ID running and Oakley Women brand ambassador. Marni enjoys public speaking and writing, and she has several published articles in Fitness Magazine, Women's Running, Men's Journal, Bicycling Magazine, The Florida Times-Union Shorelines, Lava Magazine, Hammer Endurance News, CosmoGirl magazine and Triathlete Magazine, and contributes to IronGirl.com, USAT multisport zone and Lava online.