Updated: Tuesday, 01 May 2012, 12:01 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 01 May 2012, 12:01 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - With the hours winding down to the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon, runners and walkers should be weeks or months into their preparation. At this point, most runners are 'tapering' - taking shorter, less-intense training runs as the week wears on, to let their bodies get fully recovered and ready for the strain of the big day.
But when it's finally time to take to the course, even the most well-prepared athlete should take some steps to stay injury-free.
That's the message IU Health's Bryan Ruggles delivered to our Daybreak viewers. Ruggles is the performance coach and team leader for IU Health Sports Performance.
He says the morning of the run, it will be important to get your body ready for the challenge ahead.
"Immediately before the race, they want to do what we call 'dynamic warm-up,'" Ruggles said. "You can do a light jog for 3 to 5 minutes. Simple movement-type stretching exercises."
Ruggles says stretching while moving is an increasingly popular alternative to conventional stretching-in-place.
"Static stretching is also an option for runners, but more people are moving toward dynamic stretching."
The 500 Festival Mini Marathon presents something of an additional challenge that other runs do not; there are so many people — about 35,000 — that the crowd can keep you from warming up the way you'd like.
"It is pretty crowded when you are in the race waiting to go," Ruggles cautioned. In tight quarters, he says you must find a way to stretch. "Just simple things like pulling your knee up to your chest and alternating that knee. If you can bend down and walk and stretch, touching your toes. If you can't do that, just simple static stretching things — like just pulling the leg up behind you and holding it there — will have to do."
Ruggles also said he hopes that most runners have chosen shoes and started breaking them in long before now. But for late shoppers who insist on running in fresh-from-the-factory shoes, he does have some recommendations.
He says you should factor both your foot shape and your weight into the equation. He says heavier runners must buy shoes that have more support.
He also says it pays to know whether your feet are a better fit for a straight or curved “last.” Reputable running shoe dealers should be able to fit you properly.
As for blisters, Ruggles says they are much more likely with shoes that you have not broken in, so if you insist on new shoes, at least spring for decent socks.
"Today the running socks offer a lot of support through the middle of the foot. You don't want anything that's so thick that it forces your shoe into the middle, yet you want something that's comfortable and supports the foot a little bit,” Ruggles said.