How important is the pre race warm up?
I have observed many times at training that we often perform our best runs well into our training session. I read a very good article the other day that just reminded me how important the pre race warm up is. It referred to weight lifters spending too much time on a foam roller and stretching prior to lifting. Basically whatever sport or activity you are about to perform you need to replicate these movement patterns as close as possible in your warm up. If you are about to move something heavy then you need to load your body so your muscles and neural system adapt to the load and are ready to fire. If you are about to run fast you need to progressively build up your speed and fire your neural system so its ready to go. You should not get to the end of your race or event and be saying “my system feels really warmed up now, I’m ready to run”. Begin by getting a good sweat up before your event. This applies to training as much as it does to racing. To get the most out of a training session you need to be ready to go from the first run not half way through the training session.
Don’t be too scared to have a a few really hard runs before you race to get your neural system fired up.
Just leave yourself enough time for heart rate and system to settle back down and you will be ready to race. We often find that after doing multiple hard sprints at training when then pull out our fastest times after the 3rd or 4th training run. You don’t want this to happen on race day. Make your warm up count. It takes time and practice to get it right. Try different things at training so you are ready for race day. I like to get athletes to go through there complete pre race warm up during the week leading up to a major event. This gives them chance to rehearse their routine before the big day helps keep them focused on the day. It also gives them a routine for race day and helps settle pre race nerves. Knowing you have a routine to go through that you have practiced will give you more confidence and prepare you more mentally.
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