What not to do before a run | Blackmores

What not to do before a run

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Are you guilty of any of these common running mistakes? Personal trainer Andrew Cate identifies 6 things to avoid doing before going for a run.

1. Static stretching

The type of stretching you do before a run may have a bearing on your performance. Static stretching, where you hold a position for 5-30 seconds at a time, is thought to actually reduce the force produced by a muscle. 

Instead, focus on dynamic stretches (moving stretches) that increase muscle and joint temperatures. Examples include walking lunges, heel to butt jumps and high knee marches.

2. Eating too much

When you run, blood flow is directed towards the muscles and energy systems that propel you forward. Less emphasis is placed on the digestion of food. 

So don’t load up your stomach with large portions before you run. Everybody has a different a tolerance to the size of your pre-run meal, but you don’t want too much sitting in your stomach. 

Experiment with small meals, snacks, smoothies or even running on an empty stomach to find what works best for you. Check out our healthy pre-exercise snacks if you need inspiration.

3. Not having a plan

There’s nothing wrong with going for a run just for the sake of it, but if you want to achieve certain goals, it will help to work towards a progressive plan. 

When you head out for a run, what are you hoping to achieve? How does it fit into your overall plan? 

Ideally, your training program should include phases of high and low intensity that progressively build to a peak. This is sometimes referred to as periodisation, and it helps to boost performance and prevent over-training
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4. Drinking the wrong amount of fluids

When it comes to fluid intake, it’s important to get the balance right. You don’t want to be dehydrated, but you can also get too much of a good thing. 

The amount you need to drink varies depending on your weight, activity level, weather and sweat rate, but a few sips 15-30 minutes beforehand is a good guide. 

Drink a little more if you are going for a longer run (over 90 minutes). Experiment with different quantities and timings to find out what works best for your body, especially if you are training for an event.

5. Holding on

Did you know that the constant jolting and jarring action of running can stimulate your bowel? So try to schedule a number 2 prior to your run, as you don’t want to be caught out with kilometres away from home! 

Some tips to ensure you have no troubles getting things going beforehand include staying well hydrated, getting up a little earlier, or drinking a warm cup of black tea or coffee.

6. Running when sore

Soreness is a warning sign that your body has not fully recovered from either an injury, or your previous workout. It’s important to listen to your body’s warning signs and scale back. 

Consider lighter activities like walking, swimming or yoga, or if you are really sore, go for a massage or a complete day of rest. Running when sore could make you a candidate for over-training, where you become more susceptible to injury and illness

If you are looking for a goal to train towards, join us at the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. Run on one of the most spectacular courses in the world, taking in many of Sydney's great landmarks. All runners get the opportunity to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge traffic free. Check out these tips on how to transform your training routine. If you already have a solid level of existing fitness, our four-week Fire up your fitness Action Plan is just for you.