A Tremendous Gasparilla Running Weekend

Congratulations to all of the participants in the Gasparilla race weekend; runners, joggers and walkers. The February 28th – March 1st weekend was incredible. Each event drew record numbers of healthy active folks of all ages from stroller riders to eighty plus years young. There was an event for everyone considering you could choose from the 5K, 15K, 5K walk and stroller roll, half-marathon and marathon. I am sure that every finisher has a great sense of accomplishment whether they went 3.1 miles, 26 miles, or somewhere in between.

Was all that hard work and effort worth it? I am certain that 100% of these finishers would say “absolutely.” It all starts with setting a personal goal, such as finishing the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, and planning on how to accomplish that goal. Once you have a plan, you have to implement it. You need to consistently work hard to prepare yourself; lots of running, walking or jogging. Perhaps, you might need to overcome some difficult challenges, or temporary road blocks, including weather, work stress, injury setbacks, holiday interruptions, etc. Then when race day arrives, you know you are prepared and ready to meet your goal head on. Following the race, all of the hard work and inconveniences becomes secondary when you nail your goal!

If you participated in this year’s Gasparilla Race Weekend, now would be a terrific time to set your goal for next year. While your performance is fresh in your mind, you can decide if you want to increase your distance, improve your time or maintain your previous goal for another year. If you were a spectator or missed all the fun and excitement, now is definitely the time you should consider participating next year and work towards making it a reality. You don’t have to plan to run the marathon (unless you want too!) however, everyone can realistically set a goal to walk the 5K. Consider making it a family goal and include everyone in the training. The health benefits will not only been seen on race day, but every day.

Exercise of the Month:  The Hamstring Stretch

Objective: Safely stretch the hamstring muscles.

Equipment Required: None; optional exercise band or towel.

Starting Position: Start on the floor, lying on your back with your legs extended.

Technique: Slowly lift one leg, keeping your leg straight and your lower back pressed firmly and evenly into the floor.

Using your arms, pull your leg towards your head until you reach the point of a clear stretch of the hamstring muscles. You should feel the stretch in the back of your thigh on your raised leg. Hold for about ten seconds or three long, slow cycles of inhaling and exhaling. Release the stretch and repeat five to eight times. Repeat the movement using your opposite leg.

Modifications: Using optional exercise band or towel to increase stretch. Follow the technique detailed above, however, instead of using your arms to gain leverage to pull your leg towards your head, use a towel or exercise band.

Repetitions: Daily (or on most days) complete 5-8 repetitions for each leg.

Trainer Note: CAUTION: If you are using an exercise band, be careful not to let the band roll off your foot!

Davis Islands Community News   ●   April 2009
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