As I sit here and feel my muscles reminding me that I made them move this weekend, I can’t help but think over my pre-race routine in January and compare it to yesterday’s.
So many things stick out and I’m quickly seeing that a few of the things I did before I ran in January at the Resolution Run probably made my run that much better.
In January, I woke up to a chilly 48 degree morning. I ate my bowl of oats about two hours before the start time and then promptly went back to bed to rest. After laying in my warm bed a little longer, enjoying that silent darkness before getting up, I finally propelled myself up and into the bathroom to change into my running gear.
On the way down to the start line, I kept warm with a little jog. Nothing much, just enough to warm my muscles and keep me moving through the foggy morning air. As I approached the crowds, I quickly dropped into a walk and made my way to the bulk of runners gathering. There I took some time to stretch my back, calves, thighs and ankles, still moving to keep my muscles warm.
These two things helped me to run without any discomfort or pain for about 2 miles into the race at a consistent pace. This was a proud moment, to run without stopping or walking and feel no discomfort. The only thing that slowed me down was a need to make a pit stop at a ladies room on the way back to the finish line.
Also, the week before my race in January, I kept my workouts light and low impact, mainly doing yoga and walks to keep moving but not pushing myself too far. And if I did a weight training session, I kept my weights light and didn’t push myself.
This past weekend, I didn’t quite take the time to stretch and warm up as I had in January. And now that I look at each race and compare my ability and my comfort level, I can see that this was my mistake. The one area I made an improvement on was making sure I used the ladies room right before the run went off and therefore needed no time to stop for a break in the middle of the race.
Instead of warming up or stretching like I should have, I picked up my bib and promptly made my way back to my guy’s car where we sat in silence and rested in its warm cocoon. It seemed like such a good idea being that it was close to the low 50’s out there. Now I’m seeing that my muscles were not properly warmed up.
And, during the week, I upped my weights in my strength class and pushed myself harder in my training than usual. Two mistakes that I think contributed to my hip pain and my general discomfort during the run.
It seems my best bet is to:
- Keep the exercise routine prior to race day low impact and focus on running and stretching.
- Warm up with a light jog, about a mile or longer, at a slow pace or just enough to break a sweat.
- Follow up with a good stretch and make a point to stretch the hips.
- Don’t stop moving.
Each time I run, I learn something new. This past weekend was my best time but not my best race. So now to take from these mistakes and make the best of it so I can improve in my next race.