Warm-up Before Exercise
A proper warm-up increases the blood flow to the working muscle which results in decreased muscle stiffness, less risk of injury, improved performance and psychological preparation for an event. Before your 5K training and racing, a good warm-up includes an easy three-minute jog and three 30-second, fast-paced efforts or sprints. Complete the warm-up 5 minutes before the race start.
Stretch After Exercise
Flexibility is an important component of fitness, and exercise tends to increase the amount of flexibility in a joint. Flexibility is also specific to the type of movement needed for a sport, so it is more important for some sports than others. Runners should focus on the the hip flexors and the hamstrings. The following stretch is ideal for these muscles. Start in a lunge position, with one leg back and one leg forward. Straighten the back leg to stretch the hip flexors. Return to the starting position, then straighten the front leg to stretch the hamstrings. Hold each stretch about 15 seconds.
Eat Right Before Exercise
Eating a simple meal of 200 to 400 calories about two to three hours before the race is important to have fuel for the event, but also have time to digest the food. Never experiment with food or drink on race day. It's wise to practice eating before training to make sure the food works for you, then replicate this meal on the race day.
Eat Right After Exercise
What and when you eat following exercise can be just as important as what you eat before. While the pre-exercise meals can ensure that adequate glycogen stores are available for optimal performance, the post-exercise meal is critical to recovery and improves your ability to train consistently.
Listen to Your Body
If you experience any sharp pain, weakness or light-headedness during exercise, pay attention. This is your body's signal that something is wrong and you should stop exercise. Pushing through acute pain is the fastest way to develop a severe or chronic injury. If you don't feel well, you should take some time off until your body heals. Also see: the most common running injuries.
Avoid Pre-Race Jitters
Pre-race jitters are normal, so try not to misinterpret it or think it is fear; that adrenaline rush you feel is normal and it is part of your body's natural preparation for the competition. To help avoid nervousness before the event, arrive with plenty of time so you aren't rushed, get a thorough warm-up, know the course, and dress for the weather. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts before or during the race, try to focus only on your breathing and race like you don't care about the outcome. Remember goal number one: you are only competing against yourself, so enjoy the moment.
Be Proactive ● Begin with the End in Mind ● Put First Things First ● Think Win-Win ● Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood ● Synergize ● Sharpen the Saw