So you have spent weeks training for the big race, broken in your trainers, crossed off the miles and are raring to go. Make a coffee and take 5 minutes to read through my top tips before you trot up to the start line to avoid any last-minute catastrophes.
Final week preparations can make or break your race, look after the little things and the bigger things will take care of themselves as they say….
During the week leading up
- Keep your running this week short and snappy – 30 minutes maximum don’t slack off or take it easy, throw in some speed work such as 5 x 2 minute bursts at faster than average race pace with the same amount of rest in-between. This will keep your legs turning over at a faster rate but not exhaust your muscles prior to the race.
- Spend extra time this week on getting maximum flexibility and good blood flow to your muscles. This is vital for good running performance, to keep you comfortable and flush out toxins. Stretch tight muscles and use your foam roller for 20 minutes every day, or pamper yourself for all the hard work your body does – get a good sports massage.
- Prepare your kit the day before the race – don’t forget anything, pin your number to your shirt and ensure you are not wearing any new kit for the first time, rubs and blister are not welcome visitors ever. Always take kit for bad weather, sunglasses and a hat if the weather is looking good and a change of clothes for after.
- Plan your route to the race to avoid any last-minute stresses – there is nothing worse than arguing in the car with your other half or driver on the way there.
- Have a nutrition plan – the night before – eat a normal size meal, do not overeat, avoid alcohol.
- Get an early night – sleep deprivation plays havoc with your hormones and will eave you feeling cranky, if you are having trouble sleeping or feel anxious make yourself a hot milk to drink and write down why you feel like this, then repeat to yourself ‘I am going to enjoy tomorrow, I am going to succeed, I am going to sleep like a log’ Say it enough times and visualise yourself crossing the finish line and it will happen!
On the day
- Nutrition Pre-race – have a good breakfast 2 hours before that contains carbohydrates and protein (e.g. Porridge & milk, eggs on whole meal toast, yoghurt and fruit)
- Get to the race early – to get your bearings and to eyeball the competition!
- Stay Hydrated – Sip on water
- Nutrition At the race – top up your energy levels an 1/2 before the start with a little carbohydrate this ensures you have sugar in your blood from the start, banana or fruit juices are good options, sports drinks are not so good as often can upset your stomach and leave you feeling jittery.
- Warm up– 15 minutes before the start with a short 5-10 minute jog and some light dynamic stretching for an example of what I mean try this great video
- Nutrition during the race – aim to stay hydrated with water or diluted fruit juice, your performance declines rapidly when you start to dehydrate, aim to drink a few sips every KM post you pass.
- Set your watch
- GO FOR IT ! Don’t go off too fast-stick to your pace, settle in and speed up towards the end if you have the power.
- Pick a person to follow during the race, if you overtake them find another; keep picking people off as you go for motivation.
- Nutrition post race – Aim to immediately have a bottle of chocolate milk or a purpose made protein drink, these contain a mixture of carbohydrates and protein. If drunk within 30 minutes of finishing they will replenish lost salts and sugars from exercise, plus the protein will help repair muscle damage and reduce muscle soreness the next day.
- Follow up your drink with a protein rich meal an hour later to ensure you are full and your body can continue to recover from the race this is not an excuse to stuff yourself with pizza though!!
- Try a: chicken pasta salad, eggs & whole grain sandwich, a Chilli-con-carne with brown rice or a steak and mixed veg.
- Vegans and vegetarians aim to have Soya milk at the race finish followed up with beans, lentil or tofu based dishes for a rich protein source mixed with carbohydrates.
- Grab your medal and celebrate like a winner, go hug family and friends while slurping on your post race drink!
- Enjoy the race, do your best and wear your finishing medal with pride it’s all about getting involved.
Lastly swing by and say hi to Lizzie from Fitness Chrysalis Personal Training the stand with the yellow flag she will be available before or after the race to answer questions, listen to your race stories, give further information on training, nutrition, running, competition psychology & preparation and training packages but most of all dish out FREE HUGS !