Please welcome fitness writer Shelly Stinson to the SPIbelt blog!
While most people look forward to spring because the trees start to grow new leaves, flowers pop up and bloom, and temperatures begin to rise, runners look forward to it for another reason completely—it means that race season is upon us. By default, this also means that it’s time to get your body ready for these competitive physical runs.
1. Gear Up
The first step is making sure you have the proper gear and that it’s in good condition so you can train without hurting yourself. Shoes are probably the most important piece of equipment for a runner, and they should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles. If the midsole pokes through the outsole or the heel appears to be crumpled, then it’s time to get new ones.
Other gear that you might need to invest in include performance socks, running shorts or pants, moisture-wicking tops, sports bras, fitness trackers, sunglasses, SPI H2O water bottles, a SPIbelt to carry your personal items, and anything else you need while hitting the treadmill or trails. Gather this stuff at the beginning of the training season so you can spend the rest of the time focusing on your runs.
- SPI H2O Venture Series hydration belt
- Feetures! socks
- Soleus watches
- prAna activewear
- Medi-Dyne relief and prevention products
- Dr. Cool ice wraps
2. Start a Running Regimen
Now that you have the equipment, the next step in getting your body ready for spring race season is to start a running regimen. Ideally, you want to run five to six days a week, taking one to two days off to allow your body to rest and recoup.
For best results, vary the distances and speeds of your runs. For instance, you might run three miles one day at 6 mph and ten the next at a slower pace of 3 mph. This will help improve your speed, strength, and stability. And if you want to enhance these factors even more, some personal trainers suggest that you consider training with a running parachute part of the time.
3. Fuel Up
Another key factor in preparing your body for spring race season is making sure it has the nutrients it needs to provide maximum output. This means eating a lot of healthy, natural foods and limiting your intake of sugar, salt, and processed foods like cookies, cakes, chips, and pretty much anything that is boxed or bagged.
Fueling your body also requires that you hydrate it so your organs and muscles have enough water to sustain your training schedule. The average person’s water needs are one-half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight. However, since you’re going to be sweating and working out, you’ll want to drink more.
4. Get Your Mind Ready
Anyone who has run a race knows that the competition is as much mental as it is physical. Our bodies can often handle quite a bit, but it’s our brain that’s usually the one that’s telling us that we “can’t” finish or that “it’s just too much.”
For this reason, it’s very important to prepare your mind for the upcoming races. One great way to do this is to meditate, as College News points out that “this goes right along with the holistic approach to health.” Even if you don’t want to sit for 20 minutes concentrating on your breath, at least take 5-10 minutes and clear your mind. You’ll notice positive results when you do.
Do these four things and your body will be ready once the races arrive. At a minimum, you’ll be in a better position to at least finish in a good time. On the flip side, you may just place first, second, or third—making you more than happy that you took the time to prepare yourself early in advance!
Photo credit: @cgreenrun