Healthy Race Preparation Tips for Runners
With race season upon us, we compiled a few tips and recommendations for runners who are training or preparing for an upcoming event.
Fuel your body with the right foods.
To achieve peak performance, your body needs certain nutrients that will promote bone health and muscle functioning. Here are a few food items to fuel your system when training for a race:
- Eggs: The protein in eggs contains all of the critical amino acids that promote muscle recovery after strenuous exercise. Eggs are also a powerhouse for vitamin K, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones.
- Sweet Potatoes: Aside from a good source of vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are rich with potassium, iron, manganese and copper, which are critical for healthy muscle functioning and in turn, help strengthen performance during training and on race day.
- Oranges: If you don’t like this vitamin C-packed citrus fruit, consider taking the vitamin in supplement form. Vitamin C has been proven to alleviate muscle soreness after a challenging workout.
Invest in a pair of properly fitted, supportive running shoes.
If you’re not already an avid runner, you may not realize the importance of the quality of shoe you train and race in. Not only does proper fit and support matter for comfort and performance; running in old or unsupportive shoes can lead to injury. Get fitted and evaluated by an establishment that specializes in running shoes.
Don’t skimp on stretching.
One of the key tips to injury prevention is spending an adequate amount of time stretching after a run. If you have any particularly tight areas, consider getting a massage to relieve the tension, as ignoring it will only increase the likelihood of pulling a muscle.
Leave yourself a recovery day.
It can be easy to get carried away in the face of an upcoming race and overstrain your body with long runs and strenuous workouts. However, doing so has more potential to harm than help, as your muscles need sufficient time to recover in order to function at peak performance.
Incorporate core strength and conditioning into your training plan.
This is especially important for new runners or people who are pushing new distances. If your body isn’t in proper shape and you push too hard too quickly, there is an increased likelihood that you will only end up injuring yourself. Build up slowly, and work in muscle building exercises for your core to support your running performance and prevent injury.