Question:I run track and i have a meet tomorrow. I LOVE running, i run 6 days a week. I'm 14 years old, and i run the 800 (which is half of a mile) i run it in 2:49 which is O.K. but i would DEFINETLY like to improve that time A LOT! I know it just takes a lot of work training and eventually i'll build up speed, but I'm very nervous for tomorrow. I also have really bad shin splints (No, it's not just pain in my shins, it's definetly shin splints) and i want to run my best. I have long legs and i'm good at striding but are there any other quick secrets to run fast in an important meet? Any tips will be GREATLY appreciated.
Thank you very much!
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First of all, you need rest to alleviate the shin splints. Rest is about the only thing that makes them go away. Do not try to "tough it out." If you keep running despite them it can lead to stress fractures, and then you'll be in for a much longer recovery period on crutches. So, you really should talk to your coach and/ or trainer about some time to heal up. My best friend in High School did what you're trying to do and yep, he ended up on crutches for the better part of a month.
When it comes to buildingup speed, the best thing for me was running on very loose sand out on Coronado Island in California one summer. When you run on sand, try to get up on your toes to simulate sprinting. Do at least 1/2 hour like this, and sometimes do intervals on sand. If sand isn't available, make sure you vary your workouts. Hills, sprint and drifts, sand, they all helped. Get with your coach on how to build your form, and think about it when you run. The thing that helped my endurance the most was just relaxing everything in my upper body as much as possible so that you're not wasting energy being tense.
To keep shin splints from recurring, spend much less time running on hard, flat, level surfaces. Cross country courses always were easier on my shins. Try grass, dirt, hillls, sand, etc... Concrete is the worst.
As for the race tomorrow, try to maintain the same pace through out the event. Don't be a rabbit, but you shouldn't have much if any energy to sprint at the end.
Hope this helps!
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Start off the race ready to win. Start with a sprint to get out of the pack, then set a quick pace for yourself.
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You have to understand what works for you. When I was a runner, I always did best with a long warm-up. The top runner for our team did best with a much shorter warm-up. During a race, I would pick out our team leader and try to stay with her. Near the end of the race, I'd try to pass her. I only passed her twice, both of those times we had a long warm-up. Her best warm-up was stretching, that would help your shin splints. My best warm-up is a half mile or longer slow run, even though the race is just a half mile. Good luck!
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You sound like you love running, that's a good start to getting faster. Here's a tip, don't be afraid of getting tired! The shin splints, it's okay, when you are competing, you won't feel them (it will hurt like heck when you're done, but that's why God made ice). Have faith in yourself when it comes to that last 200 meters (everyone hits the wall, you're not alone, run right through that sucker!). When you hit that last 200, drop your shoulders (they have a tendency to get high and tight when you are tired) and stride out with your arms. You arm movement will bring your legs. Maintain a nice breathing rhythm in sink with your strides. Also, one last thing, focus not on reaching out with your stride, but lifting your knees and violently pressing the ground behind you. Your foot strike should be right under your butt, not infront of you. When you strike in front of you, it takes away momentum, and in a race like the 800, momentum is a really good ally. Have fun and good luck! You'll do great!
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