How to Get Race Ready in Five Steps

June 3, 2015 11:55 pm / Category: Uncategorized

© 2009 Larry Rosa Photography

When was the last time you rolled up on race day feeling 100% prepared? Think back to your last big race, were you healthy, well-rested and happy with your training? There are so many factors to getting race ready; it takes a lot of planning to get it right, but it is possible.

Unfortunately, I normally work with athletes who don’t get it right. They end up hurt, bummed and sulking into our physical therapy office. The funny thing is, all I usually hear during that first appointment is, “I know better,” or  “Yeah, I felt this pain starting a couple months ago, but…”

Enough with the buts! Here are five easy steps to follow to make sure you get it right for your next big race. These steps work for any kind of race—running, cycling, triathlon, ultra or IRONMAN.

Step 1: Start training sooner.

CyclingDon’t rush into a long distance race without giving your body enough time to train to adapt. Your body is amazing and it will adapt to what you ask it to do; you just have to give it the right amount of stimulus and time. It’s pure physiology from there. Tough workouts break down muscle fibers and cause micro-inflammation in your tissues; the recovery time in between workouts allows your body to heal and subsequently get stronger each week.

However, this could be a lot to ask of your body if you decided to just go hard every day for a month in anticipation for a big race. That’s where the magical taper time comes in (See Step 5.)

Step 2: Pilates & Yoga count during your training.

Don’t skip core and flexibility training—those two are the keys to injury prevention.

Step 3: Love your tissues.

Stretch every night, use the foam roller and/or massage stick, and make regular appointments to get worked on by a manual physical therapist or therapeutic massage therapist.

Step 4: Recover.

In between every work out, use recovery tights, Norma-tech, Compex, hydrate, and eat like an athlete.

Step 5: STOP! Taper Time.

sports-massagePlan for a “tapering period” and build it into your training schedule. Tapering periods can be one week for short races and up to three weeks for longer races. Start to taper by decreasing the distances/time of your workouts, then use that saved time for MORE TISSUE WORK (See Step 3.) At minimum, get one massage during your taper period, but a couple would be better!

Benefits of training tapering

By scheduling in a tapering period toward the end of your training block, you give your body the final healing and prep time it needs before a race. However, this can only occur if you take advantage of the “extra” time you have because your training volume is lower. If you get massage work done, stretch, and use strategies to benefit from this tapering period, then your body will do its final recovery from all your months training.

Finding out how much taper time your body needs is a balancing act that you’ll get better at every year. Working with an intuitive coach can help, but remember that you are the only one your body talks to, so it’s up to you to listen to what your body is trying to tell you and act accordingly.

FINAL STEP: Enjoy the heck out of your race!

Once you get into the groove of well-planned training, core work, tissue work, recovery, and tapering, you’ll realize how much easier it is to be a successful racer.

All the best to your health,





Kevin RauschAs the president and founder of Rausch Physical Therapy & Sports Performance, Kevin Rausch, PT, MPT takes great pride in the care of every single patient he treats. Kevin specializes in sacroiliac joint dysfunctions, running and cycling injuries, and return-to-sport planning for athletes. Since the first day he opened his clinic in 2006, Kevin has strived to provide the best in care, service and technology so as to strengthen his patients’ total body health and get them back to doing what they love.

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