I was reading the May 2011 SHAPE magazine and came across a few items to think about for all of you runners (or any strenuous exercisers for that matter) out there. These 3 common mistakes can sabotage your performance, no matter how short or long the race. Of course, I am especially thinking about the Wilma Dash 5K that the Fit to You team will be participating in May 5th.
1. Don’t get a massage or rub down your muscles. Kneading your calves or ham strings before you run can make your muscles under perform. This is not the time to have relaxed muscles! However, you do want your muscles to be warmed up. Do some jumping jacks or walk/jog slowly to get the blood flowing pre-race. Save the massage for after you cross the finish line!
2. Don’t load up on fiber. SHAPE suggests that you cut back on bran, beans, and cruciferous veggies for three whole days before a race. This makes sense for a marothon, but may be a bit extreme for a 5K. I would limit fiber for the 24 hours before a shorter race. “Too much roughage can mess up your digestion, making you feel bloated and gassy,” says SHAPE advisory board member Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., R.D. I suggest high carbohydrate and moderate protein the day of the event. You might try a plain bagel with light cream cheese, white toast with an egg and light cheese, a banana with peanut butter, or even a flavored yogurt.
3. Don’t stretch first! Yes, we all learned that we should stretch to warm up our muscles before strenuous exercise, but new research shows that stretching before hand can actually slow you down. Besides, stretching your muscles when they are not warmed up may lead to injury. The best warm up for running is to get moving and gradually build up to full speed.
I hope this helps you perform your best at your next event!