Pre-run Warm up and Post-run Recovery
The end is in sight! You have made it this far and now all that is left for you to do is focus on setting yourself up for race day and calming your nerves. As you prepare for the race, think about the day-of routine you want to establish that will help your body feel ready to race and minimize soreness afterwards.
As race day approaches, try not add anything new, as your body will perform best with the routine it has been adapting to over the past 13 weeks. Prior to starting the race, spend 10-20 minutes getting your heart rate up (i.e. easy jog) with an additional 5 minutes spent doing running-specific dynamic stretches (1). Doing this before your race will help increase your body’s temperature, warm up the muscle tissue and help prevent injury. When the race starts, anxiety tends to set in and it is natural to increase your speed too quickly. This can put a great deal of stress on underprepared muscles. In the early stages, set a steady pace that you will be able to keep for the rest of the race. The key is to try and hold back from wanting to sprint, you will need every bit of that energy for later!
When you finish the race, instead of laying down, try to keep moving! An active cool down can help with removal of lactic acid from the blood (2). The cool down should be < 30minutes, low impact, and low to moderate intensity (2). This regime will help to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness and will bring your heart rate down slowly and safely.
For the best outcome on race day: stick with your training routine, don’t forget to do a warm up and cool down, hydrate and fuel your body after your run, and most importantly, celebrate your accomplishment!
Written by:Casey Goheen Registered Physiotherapist, MPT, MSc, BSc Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Physiotherapy at Twist (North Vancouver)
Casey is a Registered Physiotherapist at Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Clinic in North Vancouver. Casey received her Masters of Physical Therapy degree from Queen’s University, following a Masters of Anatomical Sciences and Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University.
As a long distance runner herself, Casey has a passion for treating running related injuries and promoting safe rehabilitation back to sport. Casey has a special interest in working with young athletes and recognizes the demands of high level sport in this population. Casey is also GLA:D (Good Life with osteoarthritis in Denmark) certified and enjoys working with those experiencing hip and knee osteoarthritis get back to the things they love to do! As a SportMedBC InTraining Clinic Run Leader, Casey is committed to helping you stay injury free, train to perform your best, and achieve your running goals!
- Bishop, David. "Warm up I." Sports medicine 33.6 (2003): 439-454.
- Van Hooren, Bas, and Jonathan M. Peake. "Do we need a cool-down after exercise? A narrative review of the psychophysiological effects and the effects on performance, injuries and the long-term adaptive response." Sports Medicine 48.7 (2018): 1575-1595.