Monday, September 11, 2017

6 Habits to Break Before Your Next Race

I have a race coming up and because of that, I've been thinking about all of my bad running habits. But before we get to all of that, here are a few things from our weekend.

We started the weekend off with a last minute swim. I'm not sure how long swimming will be happening from now on out so we have to squeeze it in when ever we can.

The air here has been terrible because of several fires on this side of the country. So I haven't had many chances to run outside.  So when I woke up and the sky looked fairly clear, I jumped at the chance to do my long run outside. It was perfect temperature and I felt really good until I hit about the two-mile mark. Then I had to turn my long run into a 3.5-mile run.  The air was still too bad for my little asthmatic lungs and they started to tighten up a little bit. I didn't want to risk it. I did snap a picture of this pretty sunrise though.

And this one.  The smoke may be terrible to breathe, but it also makes for great sunrises and sunsets. 

The rest of the morning was spent baking cookies and cleaning around the house. I had a primary (the children's group in our church) party to go to. Trevon's aunt was getting rid of this cute serving tray so I snatched it up before we left Idaho last week.

And then the rain came! And it poured for quite a while and cleaned out more of that smokey air! So the windows were opened and the fresh, clean air came in.

While we were at the party, my grandpa's cat wandered over to get some company. Since my grandma passed away, this poor cat has felt so lonely. I'm not a cat person AT ALL, but I felt bad for little Pete.

My kids got to spend some time with my parents this weekend and they are really into Mario Kart right now. Hang on a little longer guys, I'm going to get a new phone soon and hopefully that will help a tiny bit with the quality of my pictures.  I would carry my nice camera around to take pictures, but have any of you carried 3 kids worth of stuff around daily? I'm not adding a camera to that right now.

Then with the leftover cookies, I made this delicious cookie sandwich.  Trevon helped me put the kids down to bed, and went to his dad's house to watch the football game and I got some very much needed me time.


Now, onto this talk about running habits. We all have habits, some are good that we want to keep going, and some are not so good that we want to change so that we can improve ourselves on. Sometimes we don't notice things that we are doing that are actually bad habits, (especially when it comes to running) until they are pointed out to us. So here are 6 bad running habits to break before your next race. (or just for running in general...)

1. Looking down:  This was a big problem I had in high school. They tell you not to do this because of neck strain, and while that is a really good reason, I think there's a little more to it.  Test this out, look down at the ground or at your feet for a little while next time you run, and then look up!  Not only does it help you with your running posture, but it can also help with your drive.  I know that when I'm looking up, being aware of my surroundings, focusing on the horizon instead of the ground, I feel way more confident and way more involved in my run. When I look down, I usually start to feel myself thinking about how tired my body feels and about how much further I have to go.  Breaking this habit will help you not only in your running posture during a race, but it will also help you be more confident in your race, and you'll do better.

2. looking behind you: My high school coach always told us not to look behind us.  When you're in a race and you take a peek behind you to see how close the next runner is, it throws off your rhythm of running but it also makes you lose focus and makes the person behind you think they can over power you.  Even if you feel like you have a lot more to give in a race, looking behind you gives your component a confidence boost and a bigger drive to pass you. (But, if you do get passed or pass someone, it's always really nice to tell them good job.)

3. Swinging arms side to side: This is another thing that I need to work on.  My brother used to always try to remind me not to swing my arms side to side instead of front and back because when you swing them side to side you're wasting a lot of energy. It causes your body to move slightly more sideways than moving them forward and back. While they have found that this is truer in sprinting than in distance running, I still think it would make a little difference to get your body in the habit of swinging them straight frontward and backward instead of side to side.

4. Squeezing your fists: This also has to do with energy. It takes extra energy to clench your fists tight. When you let your arms and hands relax a little bit more, your legs, feet, and lungs have more energy to work with.

5. Not warming up/stretching:  This one, you guys, this one is a bad one for me. I either feel like I look dumb warming up in front of a big group of people (at a race), and I know I shouldn't and it wouldn't matter, or I forget altogether and I don't do it. Warming up a little bit before a race helps so much, especially if it's a colder race (for me anyway).  It not only gets my muscles loose, but it prepares my lungs to work harder.  I've noticed that since I started having a problem with asthma.  But it's not just doing a little jogging before hand that helps. Stretching while you're waiting for the gun to go off can help you keep your muscles loose and warm so that you don't have to worry about an injury during the race.

6. Letting nerves get to you:  starting the race too fast:  Nerves play a big part in how you do on race day.  When you're used to racing you start to learn how to use your nervousness to your advantage, but it might take some time. Going out too fast at the beginning of a race is a huge no-no. You can waste all your energy at the beginning and not have any fuel left in your tank to finish your race strong...or at all.  If this is something you struggle with, find a way to help calm you down enough that your adrenaline isn't the only thing driving you.  Think about all the work you've put in for this race. Talk to some of the other racers a little bit, find a song you like to listen to, take some deep breaths. When the gun goes off, remind yourself that you have to do some pacing. It's good to start fast, but it's better to finish strong. Try your best to keep a good pace that you can gradually speed up until the end.

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