As a student athlete you need to take care of yourself. You will have a lot to juggle with school work, practices, and meets this season. Your health is very important!
Please be sure to drink water whenever you are able to (i.e. drinking fountains at school, bring a water bottle to your classes, drink water at lunch). Avoid soft drinks and caffeine during your fall running season. Drinking a lot of water right before a race or practice will only make you feel badly. During a run, you really only should be sipping water. If you drink too much while you are running you will regret your decision.
Before you run Make sure you warm-up first! When most people think of warming up, they probably think of standing there and doing some static stretching for 10 minutes…this is incorrect. Stretching before running can actually increase your risk of injury if your muscles are not warm. Instead, try a dynamic warm-up get your body properly warmed up first. You should ONLY do static stretching after you are finished with your run.
Aches and Pains Stretching and icing are very important AFTER your run. Purchase a foam roller to loosen your muscles and work each muscle group on your legs 5x each (i.e. hamstrings, quads, calves, and you can use a golf ball for the bottoms of your feet). Don't wait too long to address any pain or discomfort. Most injuries can be avoided by nursing them before they become too bothersome to run. If you are having a tinge of pain, stretch that muscle. Then ice it immediately after your run.
You should eat a small healthy snack before your races.
Food options before you run: *Banana with peanut butter *Cliff bar (or other type of bar) with peanut butter - not one with high protein, but rather high in carbs *Piece of fruit (the sugars in fruit are helpful) *Bread that is NOT multigrain (you won't be able to break this down before a meet in time to utilize the carbs in this type of grain).
NIGHT BEFORE YOUR RACE Healthy carbs are a good choice. Stay away from greasy and fried foods (you should be doing that anyway :) POST RACE Protein is what you need AFTER your race! Your body needs to refuel and build muscle. You may also drink a sports drink OR chocolate milk AFTER your race.