January 8, 2015

Guest Post from Cigna: Getting to the Finish Line

We're excited to feature a guest post from Pascale Jean, health promotion manager at Cigna today.  As many of you probably know, Cigna is one of the major sponsors for the WDW Marathon Weekend and they're sharing some amazing tips and a super cool infographic with us (and you!).  

So you’ve signed up to run a race. Maybe you’re one of the thousands running in one of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races (or all of them, if you’re “dopey” like me!). You’ve trained hard and put in the miles. All that’s left is getting to the finish line.

If it were easy to get to the finish line, running a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or full marathon wouldn’t be such a huge accomplishment. Along the way you’ll face obstacles, both physical and mental. Here are some tips to help you overcome those obstacles and reach your goal:

Grab some shut-eye.
You’re in one of the most magical places on earth, so it may be tempting to pack in as many activities as possible. Make sure you leave time for rest. Sleep deprivation can keep you from running at your full potential.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun too. Planning on going to one of the parks the night before your race? Don’t stress. Experts say that getting enough sleep two nights before your race is most important.

Fuel your body.
Eat a well-balanced meal the night before a race. Be sure to eat plenty of carbs, such as breads, pasta and rice. Proteins are important too as they will help your body recover after the race. On race day, eat a small breakfast two to three hours before your race. Try a plain bagel, oatmeal and other fruits and veggies. Avoid overeating – too much food may make you feel sluggish. Be sure to hydrate before and after the race.

Warm up properly.
You’re waiting to start the race. Adrenaline is coursing through your body and you’re anxious to begin. After all, you made it this far! But there’s one more thing you need to do: warm up.

Warming up before a race helps prepare your body and protect you from injuries. Before your race, try some dynamic stretches such as neck rolls, shoulder rolls and hip circles. Warm up five minutes prior to the race – that way, your body is fresh and ready to go.

Channel your inner cheerleader.
Most of us prepare our bodies for a race, but not our minds. 90 percent of running is mental.  It’s easy to let negative thoughts hinder your performance.  That’s why it’s important to train your mind just as you would your body.

During a long race, it’s not just our bodies that experience fatigue. Our minds do too. We begin to question ourselves. This self-doubt leads to anxiety, which prevents us from reaching our full potential. How do we overcome this inner struggle? By retraining our brins.
If negative thoughts creep into your mind, try to refocus them. Tell yourself that you can reach the finish line. Listen to your favorite playlist and focus on your surroundings (and what better surroundings for a race than Disney?). Break the race into chunks. Focus on getting to that next mile marker and don’t think about what lies ahead. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line. Before you know it, that dream will become a reality!

Thank you to Cigna for sharing this awesome info and best of luck to all of the WDW Marathon Weekend runners!

Disclaimer: Cigna provided us with this content and we received no compensation for this post. 

14 comments:

  1. Love this post! Great info to get runners to the finish line!

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    1. I definitely learned some things that I'll be doing for my next race!

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    1. Me too! I'm a sucker for a good infographic :)

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  3. Great information. The graphic is great. The mental battle is always the most difficult for me.

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    1. The mental game is really tough, especially towards the end of a race when you're tired. I thought this was really insightful.

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  4. Great tips! I'm my own worst enemy during (and before!!!) a race. It's so important to believe you can do it and to repeat positive phrases during the run. When I met Jeff Galloway, he emphasized saying things (out loud or in your head) like "I'm feeling strong" "I'm doing great" even if it's not true at all! And I've seen great results from that. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Jeff has some wonderful advice for staying positive. I agree that the mental part of racing is the toughest.

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  5. Sleep is something that we are making sure we get. The theme parks will be there after the race:) -L

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    1. And sleep is tough to come by at Disney races with those early mornings. Have FUN!!! :)

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  6. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It's funny how you can always learn something from the "professionals"... :)

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    1. I'm a total sucker for infographics...we build them at work for clients and I just love them! :)

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