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The 5 Things You Should Never Do in a Race

The 5 Things You Should Never Do in a Race

After 13 half marathons, 1 marathon, and over 100 5k’s, I think I can comfortably say that I am phenomenally mediocre at running.

What I have learned from logging thousands of miles and spending hundreds of hours pounding the asphalt jungle is the importance of humor.

Because whether it’s a 5K, Tough Mudder, ½ marathon, or even the goofy challenge, there’s always a point in which you need to find (desperately) some way to entertain yourself.

Through my personal experiences, encounters on the course, and my own twisted sense of humor, here are some suggestions/thoughts/things to (not) do in your next race that will surely make you and probably everyone around you laugh.

Remember, through all of the pain and training, it’s important to always maintain a sense of humor. After all, you’re paying good money to run as fast as you can away from where you started to return to where you started as fast as you can.

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Seems sensible, right?

You’ve been warned… Here are the 5 things you should (never) do in a race.

1. (Never) wear something ridiculously awesome under your throw away clothes or nothing at all

While you and your closest 5000 friends are standing, waiting in your corals like cattle on a dairy farm, you need to find a way to keep warm for those early starting, brisk and often frozen race day mornings.

Enter throw away clothes.

Until the race begins, no one actually knows what you are wearing under that thrift store exclusive. Next race day, surprise them all when you do your starting line striptease with an Armani suit, dress, bikini, skeleton pajama onesie, banana hammock, hot pants, Ghostbusters outfit, Snuggie, birthday suit or really – whatever your heart desires.

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Whatever you do, rip off those throwaways like a starting forward in the NBA and stand proud while basking in all its glory. And then run like hell!

2. (Never) have a messy public break-up with your shoes

We’ve all been there before. A crappy run, an uncoordinated walk, a sudden trip where you get so pissed off at your shoes you want to throw them off a bridge. Whether you’ve had them for 3 miles or 300, every shoe relationship has its moments.

Try spending 4+ consecutive hours on asphalt with them and you’ll be sure to come across some rocky road. The next time you cross the finish line after hours of burning rubber and feet, stop, take your shoes off, scream at the top of your lungs, “I’m done with you” and throw them into the crowd like a grenade souvenir.

Then simply just walk away.

3. (Never) enjoy a mid-race unconventional snack:

One of the unwritten rules of running is to never eat something new on race day.

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Well, the fact is GU gels go anywhere from delicious to acrylic paint. Clif Shot Blocks and GU Chomps will occasionally hug your teeth, and Sports Beans’ flavors sometimes resemble more of a Willy Wonka creation gone wrong than an actual nutritional aide. However, we all know these things are necessities when it comes to surviving longer races and runs.

But once, just once, don’t you wish you could whip out something a little more delectable at mile 9 or 15?

When I was a personal trainer, I once saw a man eating a sandwich on a treadmill. So I can’t possibly see how pulling out a Twinkie, Bear Claw, Pad Thai, bag of Baked Lays, or a rack of ribs (protein, right?) as mid race snack can possibly go wrong. . .

4.  (Never) high-five! Everyone

You’re exhausted, you’re hallucinating, you’re delusional, you’re excited, you’re energetic, you’re in dire need of support, frankly, and you’re a mess. For me, that pretty much sums up my first marathon experience.

One of the most energizing things that can happen during a race is getting a high-five from a stranger. Several lined up in a row? Practically orgasmic.

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Next time you hit the course try to give high-fives. . . to everyone. The water stop volunteers, the random kids along the race that are confused why their parents dragged them out to cheer on people they don’t know, the police officer blocking the side roads, the guy handing out beer (especially him), or the person holding the sign “Worst.Parade.Ever.” Got it in you? Challenge accepted! High-five!

5.)  (Never) kiss, make up, and celebrate in style

It is tradition at the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Speedway that the winning driver and crew kiss the bricks around the start/finish line after the race. Nothing says romantic like a big ole smooch with exhaust soot, burnt rubber, and spilled gasoline but by golly they still do it.

Then there is the INDY 500, of course, where the winner drinks/showers in milk on the podium.

I don’t know about you, but I will probably never “win” an actual race. However, that doesn’t mean we all can’t come in 247th place like a champion.

During your next race have a good friend wait for you at the finish line with a bottle of champagne (Andre – only the finest). When you are about to cross the finish line, kneel down, kiss the finish line (or blue and orange Lego block transmitter) and grab that bottle of the $9.99 rack’s finest. Shake, pop, and celebrate. Congratulations, you just made average look phenomenal.

Go get’em!

Featured photo credit: Buzzfeed via buzzfeed.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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