LEARN HOW TO WARM UP LIKE A PRO BEFORE YOU HIT GO.
This spring, elite marathoners Luke Puskedra and Amy Cragg joined about 400 other crazy-fast runners in Los Angeles to determine who would be chasing down 26.2 miles for the U.S. in Rio. They both totally defied expectations, crushing most of their competition, with Cragg winning the women’s race in 2:28:20 and Puskedra finishing the men’s race in a close 4th (2:14:12). But impressive finishes like that don’t happen by accident. How they approach race day is clearly important to their success, so we asked them to share some of their secrets with us.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
“The night before races I write down a very detailed list of exactly what I need to do between when my alarm and the gun goes off,” says Cragg, 32, who ran a 2:27:03 at the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon to qualify for the race. “The first thing on the list is always to drink a glass of water to replenish fluids I lost during the night. Water isn’t always the most appealing thing to me in the morning,but my rule is no coffee until I finish it, so I’m always able to get it down.”
“Depending on the race, I usually wake up 3 to 4 hours before start time, so I can get something in my stomach. I have coffee and cereal the morning of the race. While I’m drinking my coffee, I do some dynamic stretches to warm the body up,” says 26-year-old Puskedra, who clocked a 2:10:24 (the fastest American time of the year) at the 2015 Bank of America Chicago Marathon to qualify.
“About an hour before the start, I jog for 15 minutes, and for the first 10 minutes I go over my race plan in my head, visualizing myself accomplishing my goals. That’s followed with a series of plyometric drills, like skips and butt kicks, assessing what’s awake. I do dynamic stretches based off of what I notice during my plyos. Then I perform 4 to 6 strides, and I’m ready to go,” says Cragg. “Fifteen minutes before the race, I consume an energy gel. I also love to warm up in lots of layers, so in the last 10 to 15 minutes, I slowly take off each layer piece by piece in between strides, feeling lighter and lighter.”
Information and Pictures from Nike :