This week we will be looking at what to do before, and after your run. It is very important to be well-prepared before you go running, as it is also important to recover from your run properly.
Any run needs to start with a good night’s rest, which is obviously important for giving you optimal energy for your run. Six-eight hours of sleep is optimal for maximum performance, although some people can run on less. After the wake-up, it’s important to eat and drink something to give you a little energy. A light meal of peanut butter on toast works best for me, but you can also try a small granola bar (like a Clif Bar), a citrus fruit or trail mix. This should be eaten more than an hour before the run. Make sure to also drink plenty of water before the run, up to about 20 minutes before the run.
An extremely important thing that a lot of people just throw by the wayside is stretching. An extensive stretch routine can be the difference of pulling a muscle while running that will put you out of commission for weeks, to being able to run farther. Here is a simple stretch routine that I make sure to do before every run (hold each one for 20-30 seconds):
- Start off by sitting on the ground with your feet stretched forward. Stretch out your arms so that you touch your fingers to your toes.
- Next in the same position, fold one leg in at a time while the other leg is outstretched. Touch your fingers on one hand to the toes on the other foot. Repeat with the other leg.
- Now stand up and stretch out each leg, one at a time, on an elevated ledge in front of you.
- Do the same stretch but this time put your leg up on a ledge angled to the side.
- While standing, reach behind your back and grab your leg and bring it up towards your back. Do one leg at a time.
- For the next one, stand up and lean to each side of your body, stretching out the groin.
- While standing touch your fingers to your toes, trying to keep your legs as straight as possible.
- Lastly, stretch out your arms forward and back so that they don’t become sore while you run.
Doing all of these stretches should make it a lot less likely for injury during the run. Make sure to do an abbreviated version of the above routine after your run, as you need to ease the recovery period. A meal with lots of protein is a good for recovering after a run. You should also make sure to drink water or a sports drink to rehydrate yourself after.