Running preparations for race day
What to do in the lead-up to a race
Getting your preparations for race day right is essential if you want to get out what you have put into your training. Overtraining or improper preparation can all impact on your ability to perform well on race day. Here's how you can prepare for your race day in the final few days and hours.
Running preparations for race day
If you've trained hard enough, and over a long enough period of time, you should be able to cope physically with the challenge that awaits you. What you need to do now is get mentally and practically prepared for the race ahead.
What running preparations should you do for race day? Well, put aside all thoughts about not being prepared, or too tired, and concentrate on what you achieved in training over the last few months. If you've put the miles in, then you are prepared.
Rest before your race
The final week before race day should see a gradual decline in mileage and an increase in rest, recovery and sleep. It is important to ease back so your body has time to recover and get ready to perform well. Plan your last four to five days like a military operation so you are able to get to the start line fully charged and raring to go.
Fuelling up the night before the race
One of the most important running preparations you should do for race day is fuel up the night before. Make sure you eat well the night before your race, and make sure you eat something that you know agrees with you. It's not a good idea to start experimenting with foods the night before big race. You can eat as much as you want to, but the day before race day it is wise to eat often but in small amounts.
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids in the run up to your race. You should drink around 120 to 180ml (approximately 4 to 6oz) every hour that you are awake leading up to your race. Try and eat more healthily in the final week and make a special effort to eat more vegetables and less fat.
Prepare your race kit
Lay out your race kit the night before the race. It is so easy to forget something on race day, so make a list to remind you of everything you need to take with you.
On race day
Get up early and get yourself prepared. Your body will function much better if you have been up and active for a few hours beforehand. Avoid fried foods in the morning. Porridge or bread and jam are a safe bet if you don't feel like eating much at all.
Arrive at least an hour before the start of the race. This will allow you time to check out the start and go for any last minute toilet trips which may be required. Traffic is always bad on race day so take this into account when setting off.
Get warm and stay warm
Remember to warm up. This will help focus your mind better and get you ready for the race, as well as relieving some of your pre-race anxiety. Your warm-up should be simple and not too strenuous. Easy jogging of about 10 minutes followed by light stretching should suffice and is key to your race day preparations.
Get in position
Get to your start position early. When the gun is fired, stay calm and keep the pace easy. You may have no choice anyway due to the number of runners around you. If you start off too hard you may have difficulty finishing. Once into the race, settle in at a pace that feels comfortable to you.
One of the final preparations you should do for race day is to think positive throughout the race. You have put the training hours in so you know you are capable of performing well, so go out and do it.