The countdown has begun and the excitement is starting to build – and perhaps even a few nerves. Take a deep breath: your big day is almost here!
But even though most of your training is behind you, there are still lots of things you can do in the final run-up to maximise your chances of race day success. Ready? Let’s find out…
Stick to the plan
You haven’t had it stuck on the fridge door all this time for nothing! Good training plans take event build-up seriously, and incorporate tapering – reducing intensity and distance over the last few weeks – to help you recover from training without losing fitness.
It might feel counterintuitive to do less running before your big event, but it can actually help you feel less anxious and improve your overall running performance. Let’s hear it for tapering!
Address any niggles
Trainers rubbing? If you’ve got time, get some new ones and break them in.
Running low on your favourite snacks? Get stocked up.
And even if you haven’t suffered from any aches or pains, a sports massage makes a great pre-race treat and will help you feel fantastic on both the start and the finish line.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is a good idea throughout your training, but it’s especially important in the final run-up to your race.
The 40:40:20 ratio – 40% carbs, 40% protein and 20% fats – is a good one to aim for, and a nutrition tracker can help you record what you’re eating so that you stay on course.
There’s a lot of talk about carb-loading ahead of a big race, and many experts agree that it’s a good strategy. Aim to eat more carbohydrates in the three days before your event, with good options including pasta, rice, bread, porridge and yoghurt.
Don’t overeat, though, and take it easy on the caffeine and alcohol – you don’t want to risk an upset stomach!
Get plenty of sleep
Everyone’s different, but aiming for a solid 8 hours of shut-eye ahead of a race is a good rule of thumb. And after all of those training runs, you’ll probably need it!
If you need some help winding down, try a hot bath (add some Epsom salts to ease sore muscles and joints), herbal tea and cutting down on screen time.
Not only will healthy sleep habits help your body prepare for the intensity of the race ahead, going into your race in a calm, well-rested state can also help calm any pre-race nerves.
Starting points? Course map? Baggage buses? Kit list? When will you receive your number? How will you be travelling on the day? Have you checked for any transport updates? What time does your wave start – and when will you need to arrive, allowing yourself enough time to go to the loo, get into position and warm up?
Like Scouts the world over say, “Be prepared.” It’s your key to race day success!
Stay mentally positive
It might not have been easy. There might have been times you’d rather have licked tarmac off a dirty road than dragged yourself out the door – but hooray, you’ve done it! Your training is done and there’s a whole city out there waiting to cheer you on.
However it’s gone, you’ve done so well to get this far. Remember, no training plan is ever perfect, even for athletes – and bodies, as well as life, are complex things. Celebrate and treat yourself a little this week to something extra special – a new pair of running socks, a healthy smoothie – because hey, you’re ace, and you’re nearly done.
We’ll see you on the start line!