Friday, May 7, 2010

Morning of the Race

Time: 26:43
Distance: 3.59 miles
Pace: 7:26

I'm not sure of the science behind shakeout runs and why most professionals, collegiate teams and serious runners do them, but they do. I would guess it's a way for the body to wake up, loosen up and ensure it knows that it's race day. Shakeout runs also keep a routine for the athlete prior to competition. I think most importantly, the shakeout run allows the runner to see if there are any tight spots in the legs that should be stretched before the race.

I started doing shakeout runs as a freshman in college and found it a little intimidating to run 20-25 minutes several hours before the race and warm up. During the warm up, as as team, we would get another 20-25 minutes. All totaled the team would have 5-6 miles on the legs before the start of the 8k or 10k in cross country.

I continue to do shakeout runs before races for several of the reasons I mentioned above. I feel like I'm in a routine. I think about race strategy. I stretch whatever muscles didn't feel quite right. However, I'm not sure if I would race any better or worse if I started forgoing the extra few miles. There might be a bigger psychological or physiological reason that I'm missing, but that's for someone else to answer.

1 comment:

Coach Gaudette said...

The shakeout when the race is afternoon/night isn't usually as necessary compared to when the race is in the morning.

The main purpose of the shakeout is to stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) and get things firing.

Similarly, one of the reasons strides the day before a race help is because the last thing your CNS remembers from the last run is running fast.

If your race is in the afternoon, you're usually awake enough that you don't need to get things firing. However, it helps keep you in a routine, since you often run twice per day. This goes along with pretty much everything you mentioned in your post.

For college kids, and you, running 70 plus miles per week, 5 miles before the race is a drop in the bucket.