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River Run training tips: It’s almost race time, so now what?

Lizzy Cooper, a physical therapist and area manager for H-2 Health joins us to talk about some last minute prep you can do before the Gate River Run on Saturday.
Lizzy Cooper, a physical therapist and area manager for H-2 Health joins us to talk about some last minute prep you can do before the Gate River Run on Saturday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Each week leading up to the Gate River Run on Saturday, H2 Health will provide tips for runners. This is the ninth and final segment.

We’ve focused on hamstrings and stretches, recovery techniques and footwear. But this week, physical therapist Lizzy Cooper takes runners right up to race day, and then a little beyond.

Gate River Run training tips

Week 1: Pay attention to those hamstrings

Week 2: It sounds simple, but make sure your gear is the right fit

Week 3: Astym, cupping are excellent recovery therapies

Week 4: Treadmill work can help in rehab or after a run

Week 5: Foam rolling is easy, effective way of stretching muscles

Week 6: Pain around kneecap is common, very treatable

Week 7: Using the plank to hit the core muscles

Week 8: Easy ways to stretch, loosen hamstrings

It’s almost race time. What else is there to learn as the big day looms? Quite a bit.

There may be panic that runners didn’t do enough training. There may be a desire to load up on carbs before the race to provide energy. Or, there could be a thought to squeeze in some extra running before the big day.

Cooper of H2 Health said that many things like that can arise during the days before a big run. Her message is to not stress and pay attention to the little things.

Cooper’s suggestion sounds simple, basic and almost too easy to comprehend — don’t overdo it. Get good rest. That can help runners feel somewhat refreshed after weeks of preparation. And stay with foods that are familiar to you. A good meal the night before the event is encouraged.

“The other thing to think about is your nutrition, so no spicy foods no fatty foods the night before, this is not a time to try some kind of like new cuisine,” Cooper said. “Eat things that your body knows how to digest.”

What about one final hard core training run before the big race? Not necessary, Cooper said. Keep the run light and the time running to 20 minutes or less.

Save that energy for the race.

Wake up on race day, head to the event and get prepared to compete. Cooper said a dynamic warmup is something to focus on site. Stretch. Loosen those ligaments.

“You’re not going to sit in your hamstring stretch, your quad stretch, for three or four minutes, but you’re going to do things like leg swings, light jogging, body squats, heel walks, toe walks,” Cooper said. “You’re going to do activities that wakeup multiple parts of your body so that those muscles are primed and ready to help you set your PR.”

After the run, and, optimistically that personal record, Cooper said runners should listen to their bodies and muscles. If soreness lingers well into the following week or is worse on one side of the body than the other, a visit to the doctor isn’t always a bad idea.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.