My most valuable racing advice is WARM UP!
Oh, the many times that runners have come back to me and said, "I had a great race and it was because you told me to run a warm up."
I get it, you want to save every bit of energy for the 3.1, 6.2, or 13.1 miles that you will be racing. However, the gains in preparing the muscles for the race pace with a simple mile of running or fast walking will have you smiling as you cross the finish line.
So here the reasons to try out my most valuable advise: warm muscles stretch better and therefore run faster, clothing choice makes all the difference in how hard your body has to work to keep your internal temperature stable, and getting any nervousness under control will keep you from bolting too fast from the start line.
The HOW TO of a Race Warmup
1) Start your warm up no sooner than 30 minutes before the start gun goes off. Run for 1 mile or 10 minutes at an easy pace. End the warm up run near the start line. If possible run out and back of the last 1/2 mile of the course. It is so helpful to recognize the landmarks and turns when you are finishing the race.
2) Lightly stretch those warm muscles. Don't forget your torso, shoulders, and arms.
3) Remove any extra clothing that you will not need to race with. Remember you will feel 20 degrees warmer than the actual air temperature when running. So don't be afraid to shed that extra jacket or long sleeve shirt.
4) Find your spot on the start line and keep moving about. Lightly stretch and shift your body around.
Finish your warm up with a smile because you get to fly through the course with a body that is ready!
Warm up for each race!