Prepping before a race is key if you want to feel good and do your best 🙌🏻
A lot of people may think race prep is just about what you do on the day itself, but actually, how you look after your body on the few days or even the week leading up to your race is important and can help.
Here’s a few things I focus on:
▪️Sleep – making sure you get sufficient sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle in general. But in the days leading up to a race it’s important to help prevent any tiredness and fatigue on the day and it will also help you mentally
▫️Food – probably the most important factor. I find what I eat in the days leading up to a race (especially the day before) has a huge impact on how I feel and perform. Nutrition and healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated, my best advice is to make sure you have 3 meals a day, snacks in between if needed, always include carbohydrates, protein (animal or plant), healthy fats and lots of veggies! Carbs are pretty important for runners, but don’t stress too much if you’re not sure about how many g of carbs you should be eating, just dont skip them when training for a run, especially in the week leading up to race day. Carb loading is a real thing so make sure the night before a race you have a big carb loaded meal (my go to is pasta, chicken and veggies!).
▪️Hydration – water water water! It’s not just about how much you drink on the day itself but making sure you’re body is well hydrated throughout the week leading up to the race is something to be aware of! If you’re not hydrated enough come race day, this could potentially lead to becoming dehydrated during or after the race, which is not good! If you’re dehydrated beforehand and drink lots on the day then you’ll probably end up needing to wee constantly.
▫️Alcohol – leading on from food and hydration, alcohol is something else I want to make note of. Personally I find alcohol has huge impact on performance. During training I’m very conscious of how much I drink and keep it to a minimum. Depending on the distance of the race I would either have one drink or nothing at all the night before.
▫️Rest – in the week leading up to a race it’s important to make sure your legs are well rested so they’ll be at their best for the race. This is not to say you have to do nothing at all, but on the other end of the scale don’t go too crazy and tire them out. In terms of training there’s not much you can do to help in the last week so just make sure you get some easy runs in to keep your legs ticking over. I would also avoid any other type of training like a heavy leg session in the gym, and also make sure you include lots of stretching, foam rolling, etc.
▪️Plan – you don’t want to get to race day and be in a panic. Make sure you plan your day to avoid rushing and stressing out. Lay your kit out the night before to check you have everything, plan how you are getting to the event, work out how much time you will need before the race starts, what you will eat for breakfast and what you will need after the race.
I hope some of this advice helps, especially if you are new to running but remember, it’s important to find what works for you! It takes a lot of trial and error and that’s why it’s also important to try things out during training and never do anything new on race day!
Sometimes you’ll have a bad run and you’ll be able to pin point what went wrong during your prep, maybe you ate differently or drank alcohol the night before? Maybe your’e training didn’t go to plan, or maybe it was simply a bad run day.
Most importantly when it comes to races, have fun! Take it all in and enjoy it.