So you set yourself the goal to run a race, you braved the summer weather to get all the training done and now all that’s left, is to run the race! But how do you prepare for race day and how do you make sure you get the best out of yourself?
Whether I’m leading up to a major championship race or a local cross country or road race, my preparation does not vary a great deal, nor does it vary much from how I prepare for training, which leads me to my first tip!
Stick to your usual routine in the morning of the race and don’t do any thing new, you don’t want to upset it by doing something different. Eat your usual breakfast and don’t drink too much water. My choice in the morning before a race is whole meal toast with either avocado or jam and I would eat it about 2 hours before the start.
Hydration is always a key aspect of my preparation and something that you should focus on the in the days leading up to your race. I typically drink 1-2 sachets per day of Hydralyte in the 2 days leading up to my race, this means that my body is hydrated for the race and I don’t need to drink much in the morning, which also helps with the toilet, or lack of toilets, at the race venues.
Sleep! My coach always says to me, you need to get a good night sleep the night before the night before, this translates to the second last night before your race! We all get nervous and a little restless before a race so don’t worry if you don’t get a good night sleep the night before, it’s the one before that counts!
Having a balanced diet in the lead up to the race is important so your body is using the best fuel possible and the night before is no different. You can’t go wrong with a meal full of carbohydrates with some added protein. I usually have a pasta or rice dish, my favorite is gnocchi with chicken and mushrooms. Where you can go wrong is with spicy food, perhaps keep this for the night after.
When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you run good! Invest in a new singlet that matches your favorite Brooks shoes. My favorite racing shoes are the Brooks Hyperion. I do all my mileage in the Brooks Ghost and my fast training runs in the Brooks Pureflow, but I can go past the Hyperion for a fast 10km race.
Be prepared. Set your alarm, have your bib ready and don’t forget the pins, set out your clothes and shoes, have your bag packed, give yourself plenty of time, know how your getting there and if there are road closures on the way, have an idea of where you will park, where is the bag drop, where is the start line, and know what time the race begins!
And finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! You are about to do something that will push your limits and no matter the result, you should finish proud of yourself.