The summer months are winding down, which means that fall racing season is right around the corner. If you are specifically training for a fall race there are a few things you should be doing in the coming weeks to take advantage of the time you have left. It probably isn’t time to start tapering yet, but there are a few other things to add to your race preparation checklist before that time comes.
If you have been neglecting strength training in favor of logging miles, you still have some time to get it in. “Strength training increases our ability to handle the impact and load on joints, tendons and ligaments (after all, you have seven times your body weight coming down on them when running),” explains Michelle Yates, founder and coach at Rugged Running. “It also increases bone density, which is needed if you want to continue to run, stay healthy and avoid stress fractures.” Yates recommends adding full-body strength training into your routine three times a week or breaking it down into smaller chunks—lower body one day, upper body the next and then focus on your core to round it out—to make sure you cover all of your bases.
Flexibility and Mobility
This all comes down to self care and instituting the proper steps to recover after your workouts. “Bust out the foam rollers, lacrosse balls (hard rubber balls work great!) and make an appointment with your massage therapist and chiropractor,” urges Yates. She encourages yoga, stretching and rolling on a daily basis.
Not only should you practice your race-day nutrition and hydration, you should also dial in your everyday nutrition if you haven’t been fueling before or after your workouts properly. “Your nutrition is an absolute must to get the most out of your daily training so your race day performance is that much better,” Yates says. She recommends a plant-based diet that includes a lot of healthy proteins.
Doing these three things will have your body ready when the summer comes to an end and the cooler temperatures of fall hit. Yates reminds us that things will go wrong, so prepare the best you can even as you are camping and traveling throughout the summer season. Work to find tricks that won’t interfere with summer activities—for example, Yates encourages you to find body weight, no-equipment needed strength training exercises—and enjoy the final weeks of summer.