FIT THURSDAYS: entering tough mudder? Find out what to do from now!
By Elaine Delaney, Personal Trainer
Did you know only 78% of participants will complete the Tough Mudder course this weekend? Here are some helpful tips to prepare your body in the final days.
WHAT TO DO:
So the months of training and preparation are coming to an end, it’s no longer months or weeks but days to the big event. You feel you need to squeeze in the last few training sessions but you are afraid to over work those muscles. Below I explain the some helpful tips to prepare your body in the closing stage of training before race day.
2-4 days before the big event
The intensity of your training should begin to reduce 3-4 days prior to the event (your training should not stop). Try including exercise of a low impact nature e.g. swimming and cycling. They will elevate the heart rate but reduce the impact on the joints. It will also reduce the risk of injury.
1-2 days before
1-2 days before the event it is recommended to promote the clearance of existing lactic acid from the muscles as it will improve your performance. Some simple recommendations to improve lactic acid removal include elevating your legs against a wall whilst you lie down or place a pillow under your feet whilst sleeping.
Hydration becomes an important factor at this stage; it is recommended consuming a minimum of 3 litres of fluid per day in the lead up to an event. This number will increase depending in humidity levels.
The day/night before the race
Your final preparation before the race is essential. One of the most important factors to consider the night before the race is sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and decreased glycogen synthesis (energy source) in the muscles. Ensure adequate hydration is achieved and the intake of alcohol is discouraged.
A full body dynamic stretch routine is recommended the night before the race as it prepares the body for the big event. A dynamic stretch involves the movement of the muscle/joint through its full range of motion but the stretch is not held in an end position. A dynamic stretch can mimic the activity you are about to commence for example leg swings before a marathon. At no time during dynamic stretching should a body part be forced past the joint’s normal range of movement.
The morning of the race
So you wake you hours before your alarm? The reality of the task ahead is daunting and the nerves are starting to kick in. Try sticking to your normal routine. Ensure you eat a `normal’ breakfast, don’t try new foods for the first time or dramatically venture from your regular breakfast routine. Keep drinking fluids throughout the morning. Try wear clothing you feel comfortable in, many of us wear new clothing on race day which often cause irritations. Allow yourself adequate time to get to the event.
After registration, a whole body warm up is essential. Often it is difficult to find adequate space which deters us from warming up and stretching. All you require is a small area, enough to complete some exercises that take the joints through their full range of movement and dynamic stretching. Try to elevate your heart rate enough to warm the body and feel your joints become more viscous. This will also help to reduce injury and mentally prepare you for the task ahead. If you are still nervous try listen to some music and try concentrate on your breathing patterns. Slow controlled breaths can help to relax the body.
Approximately 30 minutes before the race consume about 250 mls of water, this should be the last intake before the race.
Throughout the race
You sprint over the start line, your heart is racing with excitement, the adrenal is rushing and the euphoric feeling is immense. You hit the 3km mark and you are feeling a little heavy and begin to slow down. The first thing that comes to mind is I should have trained harder for this event! Don’t worry; your body is just a little confused. It is basically trying to figure out what energy system it is going to use. Once you have passed this stage you will feel more energetic and ready to take on the rest of the course. This is often referred to as your `second breath’.
If you begin to fatigue during the race try to concentrate on your breathing pattern, your muscles need oxygen to be efficient. Control your breathing and try avoiding hyperventilating.
Throughout the race, enjoy the experience and the views as you have worked hard to get to this point.
Getting over the finish line
So you cross the finish line, the sense of achievement is beyond belief. The first thing you want to do is grab a beer and why not you have worked really hard. The next few minutes are crucial to your recovery. Your body will be dehydrated and hungry. Drink some water/sports drink or coconut water to replace all those electrolytes your body has just sweated out, try avoiding alcohol at this stage.
Low intensity/slow paced movements after the race improves circulation, which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body hence improving your recovery. It encourages blood flow and promotes the removal of lactic acid. A stretch routine will reduce the level of pain experienced the following morning and if possible take a cold shower or an ice bath.
So what’s next?
It is completely acceptable to wear your medal to bed the night after the race and even to work the next morning. You are soaking up all the compliments, the adrenal is still rushing around your body, the ability to climb a set of stairs is almost an impossible task but you have the biggest smile on your face. So what’s next? You have completed a milestone but training for another event is far you’re your mind. Your body may require a few days rest but set another achievable goal and don’t let all that good training go to waste.
Hi all, my name is Elaine Delaney co-founder of Euphoria Fitness Sydney.
I hold qualifications in health promotion, physiology and fitness. Since a young age, sports and fitness have been my passion and now I want to utilise this knowledge and experience to help other achieve their health and fitness goals.
My philosophy is life is small changes in your lifestyle can have a massive impact on your health. The key to achieving optimal health is good nutrition and exercise. In modern day society your fitness regime requires flexibility and commitment.
Euphoria Fitness provides specialised one to one or group personal training, for more information on the service provided simply use the contact details below.
Facebook: Euphoria Fitness Sydney