Having raced many a times before (anything from 1500m to Marathons), I know that preparation is key! So in this week’s blog I want to share with you some top tips for the week leading up to a race.
In the week before the race avoid hard/high intensity training – instead try some active recovery for example cycling, swimming, walking or running at a moderate intensity. On the day before, you should limit time spent on your feet so your legs are well rested. Personally, I like to have 2 days rest before a race.
You should also eat plenty of complex carbohydrates such as oats, rice, pasta or potatoes so you are fuelled for the race. Risotto is my favourite pre-race dinner and I’ll also have a jacket potato at lunch.
Avoid eating anything different to usual in the two or three days before the race so you don’t get tummy troubles. Drink lots of water and avoid alcohol or too much caffeine so you don’t end up dehydrated.
Go to bed on time for the two nights before the race so you’re not tired on the day. If you’re finding it difficult to sleep because you’re worrying about the race, try to visualise yourself crossing the finish line like it’s already happened. Keep this thought in your mind and tell yourself you can do it so you feel positive.
On the morning of the race I get up at least 2 hours before the start and drink lots of water and eat porridge with banana, walnuts & honey. I attach my race number to my vest with 4 pins (so it’s not flapping about) and I always wear kit that I know I feel comfortable running in. You don’t need fancy trainers – just make sure that you’ve worn them in and they won’t give you blisters.
You should aim to be at the start area about 30 minutes before so you you’re not stressing about being late. Leave extra time in case you need a nervous wee (and have to queue!) before the start.
Allow extra time if you want to warm up too. Personally, I don’t warm up for any races 6 miles or longer because I allow myself a steady first mile, however, you may wish to spend 10 minutes jogging to the start line.
When you’ve de-layered and you’re ready to start just try to relax. Think positively, focus on the challenge ahead and remember why you’re doing the race in the first place – maybe you’re running for charity or perhaps you’re challenging yourself – whatever your reason you’ve put the hard work in so now enjoy it!
My final tip is to ‘Smile for the first mile’ – i.e. don’t set off like Usain Bolt like everyone else because you sure won’t finish like him if you do!
Note: This advice is suitable for beginner level upwards, but please consult your GP or physiotherapist if you are unsure about any potential contraindications.
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