Planning for a great race
I wanted to share a few tips about planning for races, so you can get everything in place for before, during and after the race to maximise your enjoyment and performance.
One week to go;
Start writing a list of all the things you want to take to the race, and if you have space start creating a pile of things to add to a few days before the event.
Have a think about what you eat in the week prior to the race;
- Healthy protein to maximise recovery and adaptation from all your training
- Higher than usual carbohydrate intake for the 2 days before the race; ideally from low GI foods like pulses, grains etc
- Keeping hydrated
Sleep is another one to watch out for, if you can try and prioritise lots of sleep as it will also help with recovery, adaptation and getting you feeling your best on the start line!
Have a go at writing down a race plan;
- What pace do you plan to run at?
- What can you do to stop yourself going off too fast?
- When and what are you going to eat?
- How will you keep hydrated?
- Do you have any mantras or technique tips you'll remind yourself of during the race?
- Do you have any specific worries about the race? Come up with some ideas on how you could reduce the likelihood of them happening or how you might respond if they do.
The day before the Race;
Get everything packed; have you got race kit, warmer clothes for before and after, food and drink, a route planned?
Eat well and have breakfast planned for race day morning.
Take a look at your training log and think about all the training you have completed. All the sessions you have run, any races you've done before and the preparation you've worked on will put you in a great place for race day.
Consider writing some timings down for the race day. What time will you eat breakfast and pre race snacks? What time are you setting off? Are you going to warm up before the race? What are you going to eat and drink during the race and when? When and where will you meet people after the race? What do you want them to have ready for you? What snacks do you crave after a run?
Following your race day timings and plan can help reduce the stress on the day. Stick to a routine you know, especially for what you eat.
Get to the race in plenty of time if you can, make sure you've registered and have your chip and number. Double check your kit list to make sure you wear everything you need to the start.
Do a warm up if you want to. If you are feeling nervous or anxious, try a few deep breathing exercises and gentle shoulder rotations to help feel more calm.
Try your best to stick to the race plan pace and remember to keep relaxed and enjoy it. Use those mantras, technique tips and remember all the effort you've put in to get to the start line!
Remember to smile for the race cameras and aim for a glorious finish line photo, not one capturing the moment of you stopping your GPS watch :)
After the race prioritise you and your recovery. Stretch gently, get a gentle massage if you can, change into comfy clothes and shoes. Eat and drink what you want to, if you can try a mix of protein and carbohydrates for best recovery. If possible don't stay seated too long; keep gently moving. Take regular breaks if driving home or you will seize up. Sleep is the best way for the body to recover, napping is definitely allowed!
Most importantly, savour the moment! Tell people, be proud of the work you put in before and during the race. No matter how you do on the day you've achieved far more than the majority of the population ever will :)