Surviving Running-Heavy WOD’s
Every so often, it’ll come along: a WOD that incorporates running, and lots of it. Although running isn’t something that some athletes enjoy, sprints—or long jogs, depending on what sport they play—are important for youth athletes to be in peak condition. Here are a few tips to give athletes all the tools they need to prep for, complete, and then recover from running-heavy WOD’s.
Getting ready: carbs and calves. This first stage will vary depending on the workout. If athletes know the workout in advance—some running workouts might involve sprints, while others might require a longer run—they can tailor preparation accordingly. Before a longer run, easy-to-digest carbs and a little protein are ideal; think bananas, yogurt, or a sweet potato. For high-intensity sprints, consuming carbs beforehand isn’t as important. With either workout, though, athletes (especially young athletes) need to make sure to do a dynamic warm-up that focuses especially on activating the hamstrings, calves, ankles, and quads.
During the workout: focus on explosiveness and form. Powering through endless sets of intense sprints can be tough. Athletes should focus on having an explosive start, letting only the ball of their feet touch the ground, and bringing their knees up high each stride. After a long workout involving many different exercises, athletes might be tempted to let their running form slide, but it’s important to keep it solid for injury prevention, maximum results, and to simply form good habits.
Recovering: prioritize protein. After sprints, protein is a priority to really build those muscles. Sleeping is important too, of course, and foam rolling can be a great way to increase mobility and to relieve sore muscles—hamstrings, calves, quads and glutes are all likely to be sore after a running-heavy workout (depending on what other exercises were involved in the WOD). If athletes prioritize recovery even after their time in the box, they’ll be all set to sit back and watch as their endurance and speed rocket sky-high.