Gearing up for a Race? 3 Tips for Rounding Out the Home Stretch

The spring and summer months are prime time racing season, especially in Wisconsin. As we inch closer to the two big ones in Green Bay, the Cellcom Marathon and Half Marathon, and the Bellin 10K Run, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure we are in top shape for the big day. As race day approaches, follow these three tips to help you round out the home stretch of your training regimen.

1. Taper

Whether your goal is to win the whole thing or just beat your personal record, it’s important that you don’t overdo it in the month leading up to the race. According to an article in Runner’s World, you should start decreasing your mileage and intensity during the three weeks leading up to the race. Rest assured, your fitness level won’t deteriorate in three week’s time. On the contrary, that resting period gives your muscles a chance to repair themselves after being run through the gauntlet for the past few months.

So how much should you cut back during your taper? Everyone has a different theory, but a good rule of thumb is to reduce your total mileage by 20% each week, starting three weeks prior to the race.

2. Choose Your Shoes

Especially if you’re training for a longer race such as a marathon or half marathon, chances are your shoes are pretty beat up from all of the miles you logged in the past couple of months of training. Three weeks prior to the race is a good time to pick up a new pair of running shoes. This gives you time to break them in and identify and correct any potential problems with the shoes before the race.

3. Stay Healthy

The sniffles is the last thing you want going into race day: That, or an agitated knee, sore hip, or throbbing shins. Do your best to stay healthy during that home stretch before the race. Although some things are beyond your control, there are a few precautions you can take. For starters, don’t do anything you wouldn’t normally do. What I mean by that is, if rock climbing isn’t something you do regularly, now is not the time to give it a try.

Also, with tapering come some wonderful added health benefits. According to Runner’s World, tapering helps restore muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones to their normal levels. This greatly improves your immune system function, which helps reduce your chances of getting sick before the race.

For some people the temptation is there to use these last three weeks to make a little more progress in your training. Resist the temptation! Your body will thank you for it when you go into the race feeling well-rested and healthy.

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