6 Things NOT to do before a run
Avoid these six beginner mistakes before you lace up and head out the door.
There are certain things to do before your run, and others you should look to avoid entirely. While dynamic stretching, hydrating, and using the bathroom are recommended before running, overeating, not drinking enough, and static stretching should NOT be done before a run.
Without further or do, here’s six things NOT to do before you lace up and head out the door.
1. Overeating or eating too close to your run
While carb-loading may be key jargon thrown round in the running world, there becomes a point where we can overeat. Eating too much too soon just before running will leave your stomach somewhat unsettled. Not ideal before heading out on the road.
While it is important to eat before a run, especially if it’s a long-run or interval session, we want to eat between one and two hours before our run or instead opt for a light snack. This will prevent any discomfort, side stitches, or further cramping. Examples of light snacks you may wish to eat before a run include a banana, toast, porridge or a bagel or two.
2. Static stretching
Static stretching should have its own place in every runner’s training program, however, not before a run. Our muscles do not respond well to lengthening while cold. Nonetheless, dynamic stretching before a run will increase the blood flow to the working muscles while preparing our bodies for the intense activity of running to follow. A full warmup including dynamic stretching is even more important when running an interval session, tempo run, or race.
3. Avoid fizzy drinks
Fizzy drinks can also prevent us from ingesting nutrients from our food already in our stomach. Fizzy drinks contain carbon dioxide, often resulting in an uncomfortable feeling in our stomach while on the run. Avoid fizzy drinks up to at least one to two hours before your run, stick to water or juice while avoiding drinking too near to your run. This will also will provide a sloshing feeling while running.
4. Avoid drinking caffeine directly before your run
While caffeine is great for increasing sports performance, and reducing our perception of pain, drinking a cup of coffee or an energy drink directly before your run will not have your stomach thanking you. Consuming caffeine 30-minutes before exercise is the ideal time to receive all the benefits while avoiding mid-run embarrassment.
Suggested blog post: How to become a better runner: 7 tips for beginners.
5. Not drinking enough
Staying hydrated is essential to optimal running performance, especially when running in the heat. You do, however, want to avoid chugging water directly before running. Sipping your drink throughout the day is by far the best way to stay hydrated.
Tip: watching the colour of your urine is the easiest way to see whether or not you’re hydrated. You should aim for clear urine, while yellow or dark yellow urine is an easily identifiable sign of dehydration.
6. Forgetting to use the bathroom
Nobody likes to stop mid-run for a toilet break. Going to the toilet directly before your run is the best way to prevent discomfort or god forbid an accident. Instead, use the bathroom directly after your morning coffee or alternatively plan your route where you know there are bathrooms. This is especially important if you suffer from bladder issues.
Matthew is an avid runner, freelance writer, Durham University graduate, and the founder of Running101.