This Sunday we are running three miles hard at Shelby Bottoms. Be sure to get there on time! We lose an hour Saturday night, which means longer, warmer days – but it also means that tomorrow 9 o’clock is really 8 o’clock.
Last time we did this workout we ran three miles out at an easy pace, turned around, and ran three miles hard back in. That’s the plan for this week as well. But make sure that your 3 mile warm-up is a warm-up, and that you are not running too fast – or with people that are significantly faster than you.
By the way, how should I warm-up for a race?
Everyone knows that you cannot jump out of bed and run a great 5K. Especially as you age, your body needs more time to prepare to put out hard efforts. So before you race, it is essential to get the engine going, but how do you do that?
Warm up basics
1. Shorter Race/Longer Warm-up. The faster you are going to start a race the longer your warm-up should be. A mile racer is going to be running fast from the gun, so he needs to approach the line ready to go. This requires a long warm up. A marathoner, who will build slowly into his pace over a mile or two does not need to be prepared to sprint at the start, so his warm-up would be significantly shorter. Also, a miler will finish his race under 5 minutes, so he can afford to “waste” some energy on a warm-up; while a marathoner will be running for hours, so every drop of glycogen used on the warm-up is energy that will not be available at mile 22!
2. Easy Running. Start running slow. And keep it there for at least 5-15 minutes. Then gradually increase the pace over the last 5 minutes. Run for a total of 10-30 minutes.
3. Stretch lightly. Before a race is not a good time to begin practicing yoga. If you don’t stretch normally, don’t stretch now. If you do stretch – perform some light stretches. Everyone one is a little different as to what needs to be stretched: I focus on my back, hip flexors and quads. Others focus on their calfs and hamstrings. Focus on whatever you need, but don’t do any deep stretches before a race.
4. Bathroom duty. No explanation needed for those of us who have gotten the trots during a race… When you go to a race, be sure that you give yourself time to hit the bathroom. The combination of warming-up, pre-race jitters and coffee tends to get things going…
5. One to Two minute surge. About 8 minutes before the start of a race, you should run 1-2 minutes at your threshold (tempo) pace. This is the pace that you could run for an hour. This final step prepares your body to accept the onslaught of lactic acid that you are about it give it. It is tough for your body to go from rest (heart rate of 70) to racing (heart rate of 170+). It is better to start a race with your heart in the 100-120 range rather than from resting. This final surge gets your body to this point.
6. Final strides. A stride is a 50-100 meter light “sprint”. You will see some racers doing strides instead of the longer surge. I am not a big fan of strides unless: a) you finished your surge 10 minutes ago and you have been standing at the starting line for a long time waiting for something to happen, or b) the start of the race is going to be extremely fast.
If any of you guys ever have any specific questions about this ask, be sure to ask on Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings! Or, just ask those folks running next to you. There is a lot of running experience to tap into out there on Sunday mornings…
See you guys on Sunday!