In the last couple weeks before a race the nervous energy starts to rise and the taper begins. With all the hard work done in the months leading up to this moment it’s in the final days that you can really reap the rewards of the training, or on the flipside, bring it all undone!
Here’s our checklist for the final stages of your race preparation:
– Sleep lots. A good night sleep the day before the race isn’t enough. The most important sleep is in the week leading up to it.
– Eat well and avoid major dietary changes. Fuelling for the race starts 5 days out and the last thing you should be doing is experimenting with what you eat.
– Hydrate. Carry a drink bottle full of water around with you and sip away. Hydration starts 3 days before kick off.
– Stretch. While watching TV spend half an hour a night doing some stretching. It will make you feel better and mitigates against injury.
– Increase the intensity. Two weeks out from the race you should be decreasing your mileage and increasing the intensity. Don’t go over the top, but do some slightly quicker intervals.
– Visualize the race. You’ve prepared your body for the onslaught, but what about your mind? Visualise the different sections of the course and think about how you will feel. Get your head around suffering and you’ll be better equipped for the race.
– Get a massage. This is a good way to iron out any sore spots. Spend the time you’re on the table visualising the race.
– Check you gear. Make sure you have all the mandatory stuff and have tested everything you plan on using, from your clothes to your hydration pack.
– Brief your support crew. Let your team know what you want at each checkpoint and when you expect to reach them. Then thanks them for their help by smiling and hugging them at each checkpoint.
– Read the competitor briefing. Get familiar with the course, the colour of the markers, the locations of aid stations…essentially, know as much as you can about everything you can expect.
– Get there early. Don’t be in a rush to get to the start line. Plan to wake up at least 2 hours before the start time of your wave. This way you can have breakfast, do a last minute gear check and arrive at the start relaxed.
– Pack recovery gear. The best way to recover from the race is to start the rehab process immediately. Pack a bag with food, electrolyte replacement, warm clothes and comfy shoes. Leave it with your support crew so it’s ready to go as soon as you finish.