With the 2019 Vitasoy Nail Can Hill Run only 2 sleeps away, it is very much time to start thinking about race day. A proper warm-up will enhance your performance and also reduce muscle damage incurred during the run, so you’re not as sore the following days.
There are two components to a good warm-up: general and specific. A general warm-up elevates the core body temperature and lubricates the muscles, allowing them to contract and relax more efficiently. A specific warm-up increases neuromuscular activation, preparing the muscles to fire in the specific way they will be asked to do in the race or workout.
The ideal general warm-up for fast running is slow running or brisk walking. Allocate yourself at least ten minutes, as 30 seconds of nervous jogging in place behind the start line just won’t cut it! This not only brings up the temperature of the muscles and the core, but it enhances the blood flow to all the muscles you’ll need for the run and sends your brain the message that it’s time to go.
After you complete your walk or jog, it is time for your specific warm-up. This entails repetitive movements that take your major joints through a full range of motion. You should start slowly, focusing on form then, as the moves get easier, pick up speed. Similarly, use small movements for the first few repetitions, and increase the range of motion as you go. While there are many very appropriate movement options, the below is an example of a common few. In total, it should take less than five minutes to complete.
Finally, cap off your specific warm-up with a set of strides (also called “pick ups”). Run for 20 seconds at race pace, stop, walk for 20 seconds, turn around, and run 20 seconds again at race pace. Repeat approximately five times. Naturally, this is as specific as a warm-up can get so make sure you have allocated enough time!
The forecast is great, so enjoy the challenge of the run, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the Vitasoy / Flex Out Physiotherapyrecovery zone at the finish line!
As we approach the final days before the 2019 NCHR there are several key last minute things you can do to improve your performance – that have nothing to do with running! Here’s a checklist, no matter what distance, category or time you’re tackling.
I will be tackling the Nail Can trail for the first time this year. It is always exciting to do a new run, especially one as challenging as Nail Can.
To tell you the truth, I am feeling a little intimidated because I have had a heavy coaching load lately and have not been able to train effectively for the event. This means I will be relying on good technique to get me through the run!
With good running form you can achieve more with less effort. Good form will also reduce muscular tension and improve your running performance.
Here are my top three hill running tips.
1. On both up hills and down hills it is critical to maintain good postural alignment. As you run. Engage your low abdominal muscles. Lift through the crown of your head. Maintain your steady forward gaze, like that of a cheetah, calmly focused on its prey.
2. On the steep uphills you can use your upper body as much as your legs. Take smaller steps and consciously relax your leg muscles. Engage your core and swing your arms up into the hill. Imagine your arms pulling you up the hill and gently lean into the hill.
3. As you run down hill make it as smooth as you can by softening your knees to keep your feet underneath you. Engage your core and swing your arms rearward. Stay present and allow the hill to take care of your forward momentum.
At any point in the run it is wise to avoid pushing too hard and overwhelming your system – this will lead to greater fatigue later in the run. Break up the intensity with micro walk breaks. Take in the scenery, smile at your fellow runners and above all else have as much fun as you can!
Know that there is carnival waiting for you at the end of the race. Look forward to celebrating with your fellow runners. Visit the team of experts inside (myself included) ready to help you relax and recharge.
Nagging little niggles in the form of shin pain, sore arches, or aching knees may be a sign that you’re not getting the support you once were from your favourite running shoes. Likewise, if the midsoles and outsoles are compressed or worn – it may be time for a new pair! As shoes age, they lose the ability to absorb and withstand shock, to provide your body with adequate cushioning, stability and support, which increases the stress and impact on your joints and your overall risk of overuse injuries. But how do you know when you should replace your running shoes?
I advise runners if they are sitting on the fence and not sure when to replace their running shoes, to go into a local shoe shop and try on a new pair of the same shoes they’ve been training in, next to the old ones. If the old favorites feel flat and “dead” compared to the new ones, there you go – time for a new pair! The best way to tell the difference is to feel the difference.
Numbers wise, a good running shoe should last you between 600 and 800 kilometers (three or four months for regular runners). The range is approximate because it is largely dependent on running style, surface, build and training load. Heavy, larger framed runners, or runners who pound the pavement with unforgiving force, will likely be at the lower end of the mileage range; while smaller, lighter, or more efficient runners, can often squeeze a little more mileage out of their shoes. The easiest way to keep track of how much mileage you have on a pair of shoes is to track it on your fitness tracker or training log. Then, when you start approaching say 400 kilometers in your shoes, begin breaking in a new pair and rotate the two for the remaining weeks. If however, the outsole of your shoe starts to break down and start looking like the bald car tyre, replace them immediately. Hopefully this clears up any fence sitting! Best of luck with your training!