Remember these tips: - don't bounce - stay comfortable; never stretch until you have pain - count to at least 10 for each stretch (20 is better!) - don't stretch a cold muscle, warm them up first.
Before you race, focus mostly on warming up your muscles and doing some light stretching.
Butterfly Breathing: Stand up tall with arms at your sides. Breathe in as arms slowly go out and up like wings, and head turns up to the sky.
The pose should look like this^. Breathe out as arms slowly return to starting position and head looks toward the ground. Repeat several times. (warms up body, stretches neck and calms mind and body)
Shoulder Rolls: Stand with legs shoulder width apart, arms at sides. Roll shoulders one at a time backwards and forwards several times. Do it again with arms in the air. (warms up shoulders)
Next try the Windmill Twist! Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Bring arms out to sides bent at the elbows at right angles to the body, hands in fists.
Keeping feet firmly planted on the ground rotate upper body side to side. Try to turn from your hips. This stretch warms up your upper body.
Forward, Up and Back Venus: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Lace your fingers together. Turn arms out and stretch in front of you. Now try it over head.
Then, interlock your fingers behind your back and stretch them up as you bend forward as far as you can. Stay relaxed and stretch more as you breathe in and out for a minute.
The Venus pose stretches your back, shoulders, calves and hamstrings before the big race!
Elevator Toes: Stand tall. Push up onto toes and slowly return to standing. Repeat several times. (warms up feet, toes and ankles)
Lunge Side to Side: Stand with legs shoulder distance apart. Slowly lunge from one side to the other making sure your knees don't push out too far.
The Lunge Side to Side stretches your inner quads and warms up your lower body.
Cat/Cow: On all 4's, hands and knees to the ground with flat back. Arch back and lift "tail" to the air as you look to the ceiling like a cat.
Then round back, tucking "tail" and looking at your belly. (warms up back and neck)
Down Dog is next! Start from kneeling. Place palms flat on the ground, fingers wide like starfish. Knees and hand should be hip and shoulder distance apart.
Pushing up through your feet lift hips into the air, straight arms and legs, head pulls through the arms to look at belly.(stretches glutes, hamstrings, calves, achilles, lower back, lats & shoulders)
Pursed Lips Breathing: Deep breath in through nose and deep breath out through pursed lips like blowing through a straw. (good for nervousness; holds onto oxygen and refocuses your mind)
Use pursed lip breathing throughout the race to refocus yourself as needed.
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