There is no better feeling than lining up at the starting line for a big race. Whether it is a 5K or a full marathon, the excitement in the air is simply palpable. Adrenaline is pumping through your veins as you preemptively wait for the race to start. Although the start of the race may be slow due to traffic, finding a good pace time is essential. But, how did you get to this point? How did you prepare for finishing this race and achieving the goal you set out for yourself? For this fifth and final blog post, I am going to extensively discuss what one should do in the days prior to the race in addition to what needs to be done on the day of a race.
This scope will focus primarily on what needs to be accomplished the week prior to the race. According to most training schedules, the week leading up to the race should be set as a “cool down” week to prepare the muscles for the task at hand. To achieve the best results, continue running on a daily basis, but for accumulating less distance as the week progresses. This will conserve energy for race day and better prepare the legs for tackling that goal. As for dietary progression, be sure to eat three healthy meals per day to regain strength for each run. Finally, and most importantly, make sure you hydrate twice as much as you think you need. The body drains water more than people realize. By hydrating, you keep the muscles in great working order and prevent cramping up in-between runs.
The night before the race, first and foremost, one must get a good night’s sleep. This doesn’t mean sleep for twelve hours, but it also doesn’t mean sleep for four either. You know your own body better than anyone, so make sure you get sufficient sleep to feel energized for the race the next day. Additionally, drink a full bottle of water right before you go to sleep. This will keep water running through your system while you sleep and allow you to wake feeling more energized.
The morning of the race, there are a few tips that will help with maximizing your results:
- Slowly sip water throughout the morning leading up to the race
- Be sure to use the restroom before the race starts. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of the race and you need to use the restroom.
- Eat a small HEALTHY snack before you start.
- Stretch out the muscles prior to the run
- Go on a warm-up run to get your body and mind ready. (this may seem counterproductive, but it really helps get your legs moving especially in colder weather)
- Do not line up outpacing yourself. You know your limits and capabilities and the last thing you want is to be tired after the first mile.
I hope my tips have helped everyone plan out how to train for a competitive race. Always remember to never give up on your training and give it your all on race day! I will see you on the course!