Well, you have trained hard for the last 16 to 20 weeks and it is finally here: Race Week!
If you have made it this far, you are already a champion! No matter how the race goes at the end of this week, you are a winner!
This is the week you have been training for, so it is time to relax, trust the training and mentally prepare for this coming weekend!
Here are some things that you should NOT do this week:
- Do not try any new foods or drinks—eat/drink only what has been working for you!
- Do not go buy new shoes, shorts, or shirts—run in what you have trained in!
- Do not try to get in any kind of workout other than walks or very light jogs—you need the rest!
- Do not go roller-skating, play soccer or any other sport—do not risk any injuries!
- Do not second guess your training! Stay positive!
Here are some things that you SHOULD do this week:
- Get extra sleep. Start going to bed early and sleeping later than usual—you will not sleep well the night before the race, so get your sleep in the bank now!
- Stay off your feet as much as possible.
- Drink, drink, drink! Start hydrating now. Drink more water than you normally do. Carry a water bottle around with you everywhere you go so you do not forget!
- Eat well. Try to avoid fatty foods. Get in a good balance of carbs and proteins.
- Trim your toenails today if they need it! Seriously! do not wait until the night before and risk trimming them too short so they hurt during the run!
- Start watching the weather forecast and planning what to wear on race morning (nothing new!)
- Gather up all of your running gear and put it all in one place so you aren’t hunting for it the night before.
- If you run with a GPS watch, charge it up!
- Go through a mental run-through of your race and know where you should be on the course at certain times.
- Be very positive! This is a mental race just as much, if not more, than a physical race. Your mind controls your muscles, so get rid of any negative thoughts or doubts. Talk to yourself as if you’ve already run the race and it went great!
- Almost all races have pace group leaders. Decide now if you are going to run with the group for your planned pace or just go it on your own. I highly recommend you go with the pace group because you’ll be running with runners with the same goals and you can motivate each other along the way.
- If your race has a big Expo as part of the packet pickup process, go and mingle—be part of the community.
- If your race offers a bus tour of the race, go on the tour to familiarize yourself with the hills at specific mile markers—make a mental plan for dealing with them.
- Figure out exactly how you are getting to the race, how long it will take to get there, where you are going to park, who will meet you along the course (and where), who will meet you at the finish, etc.
- Plan to be at the starting line no less than 30 minutes before the race starts!
Here are some things to do on the morning of your race:
- Get up early enough so you do not have to rush to get out the door.
- As soon as you get up, drink as much water as you can.
- Continue drinking until about 45 minutes before the race and then do not drink any more.
- Get to the starting area early enough to use the facilities to empty your bladder just before the race starts—very important!
- Eat whatever you have eaten before your other Long Runs and NOTHING new!
- Say to yourself: I can do this! I CAN go the distance!
Race Start Tip: The best tip I can give you is: do NOT go out too fast!
Going out too fast is something that can happen without you even knowing it because you are so excited and just moving along with the crowd! In one race, my planned race pace was 8:00 minutes per mile. After 2 miles into the race, I glanced at my GPS watch and realized I was running a 6:45 pace! I had no idea. I felt good and I was just keeping up with the flow of runners. Nevertheless, I slammed on the brakes and let lots of people pass me. I’m so glad I did, because I passed most of them later in the race.
Remember to run your race according to your plan, not according to the pace of the crowd.
I am not going to wish you good luck because you do not need luck! You have planned and trained. Now, you just need to execute that plan.
I will tell you this: Have fun and remember to smile and wave to everyone with a camera!