A Guide To Preparing For A Run
Keep reading for a step by step guide to preparing for your run today
Runners are a superstitious lot. Many of us have pre-run and pre-race rituals that help to relax us before we hit the road or track. This is something that is unique to each runner and not something we can give you a lot of advice on.
However, what we can give you some helpful advice on are the practical things you should be doing before you head out on a run. These pieces of advice include things you shouldn’t leave the house without. As well as a few things that you can do to improve your overall health. We will even be covering the muscles that you should be warming up before you set off on your run.
Keep reading for the ultimate guide to running preparation…
Preparing and packing for a run
Here is a list of 6 essential things to do and pack before you leave for your run. Do not skip number six!
This one may seem obvious but you’d be surprised by how many times we have locked ourselves out.
Make sure you keep your keys in a secure place where they can’t or be stolen off you. Many exercise leggings now have an internal pocket to keep keys in, or you might want to consider a waist bag. Many phone armbands come with secure locking systems and places to store keys and debit cards.
Water bottle or hydration pack –
Staying hydrated during a run doesn’t only help to speed up recovery, but it has also been shown to prevent stitches and sore throats during running.
How much water you need to pay will vary depending on how long you are planning to run for and what the weather is like. You will need less water on colder days and shorter runs because you will sweat less. For these runs, a water bottle will suffice. However, if you want to go for longer runs or run in the heat then you should look into getting a hydration pack. You will need a backpack to keep one of these in, but the backpack will help to spread its weight more evenly. You’ll barely feel like you’re carrying anything. That being said hydration packs can allow you to carry well over 2 liters without noticing a difference in your performance. Besthydrationpack.org has a large selection of reviews to help you pick the best hydration pack for you – visit the website.
Studies in recent years have shown that we should all be wearing sunscreen every day. It was previously thought that the clouds could block the majority of the UV rays coming from above. However, this is not the case.
Wearing sunscreen can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancers like Melanoma. It is particularly crucial for people who spend as much time outside as runners to protect their skin on a daily basis.
Runners should look into purchasing waterproof sunscreen as it is less likely to be broken down by sweat.
So, before you step out of the door, make sure to apply your sunscreen. Even if it’s raining.
Fully charged phone & headphones
If you’re one of those lucky people who doesn’t need music to keep themselves motivated whilst running then you can skip over this section.
However, the rest of you make sure both your phone and headphones are fully charged before you head out the door. There is nothing worse than your phone dying when you’re halfway up a hill and now you no longer have Avril Lavine to inspire you to keep going.
Let’s try to avoid that situation by being prepared.
A snack for the end of the run –
If you’re not doing a front door to front door run then you might want to consider packing yourself a snack for your journey home.
After your run, your body will be starved of energy and you’ll be tempted to stop off at every fast food restaurant on the way home. Whilst a Big Mac might taste amazing in the moment, it’s going to make you feel awful when you wake up tomorrow morning.
To avoid this why not pack yourself a banana and a protein bar. These will stave off your cravings until you can get home and reward your body with a delicious, nutritious meal.
Make sure to stretch before you go running. Doing this is one of the most important things you can do to prevent injury whilst running.
Set aside 10 minutes before your run to warm up your whole body. Many people just warm up their legs forgetting that the whole body gets involved when we run.
Key muscles to warm up before a run
In this next section, we will be covering the most important muscles that you should be warming up before you set out on your run.
Your calves are one of the hardest-hit muscles during a running session. These muscles should be your priority when warming up before your run. Your carves are the power behind you running, an incomplete warm-up can lead to cramps or worse, pulled muscles.
There are a few easy ways to warm up your calves:
- Standing lunges
- Downward dog with peddling feet
- Toe touches
- Jogging on the stop
- Runner’s lunges
Your quads are your endurance muscles. The better warmed up they are, the longer you will be able to run for. They are large muscles so make sure you spend adequate time warming them up.
There are a few easy ways to warm up your quads:
- Walking lunges
- Standard Squats
- Curtsey squats
- Speed skaters
There is nothing worse than getting cramps in your glutes. And, yes you’ve guessed it, the best way to avoid this is to warm them up.
There are a few easy ways to warm up your glutes:
- Jumping jacks
- Standard squats
- Squat kicks
Many people are surprised by how intense running is on the biceps. Therefore they don’t warm them up correctly and end up with pain in their elbows
There are a few easy ways to warm up your biceps:
- Forward stokes
- Backward trokes
- Arm circles
Are abs do so much work for our bodies? They support our spines. They absorb a lot of the shock caused by our feet pounding against the ground. And they support our lungs when we are short of breath.
There are a few easy ways to warm up your abs:
- Plank (30 / 60 / 90 seconds)
- Standing bicycle crunches
- Donkey kicks
Rhomboids and Neck Muscles
Running puts a lot of pressure on our upper back and neck. Especially if our abs aren’t as strong as they could be. Running with stiff shoulders and neck will only make the knots worse.
Those of us who spend all day sitting at an office desk know exactly how miserable bad shoulders and a sore neck can make you. Warming up these areas of your body can have a great effect on your quality of life, even after you have finished running.
There are a few easy ways to warm up your neck:
- Neck circles
- Ear to shoulder stretch
- North, south, east, west stretch
There are a few easy ways to warm up your shoulders and rhomboids:
- Child’s pose
- Side stretch
- High rows
Notable mention – your ankles
Although they are not a muscle you should still take time to warm up your ankles. While a good pair of shoes will do the majority of the work when it comes to ankle protection, it still pays to take every precaution. If you need some inspiration for a pre-run warm-up, check out this video.