Whether you’re taking part in a 5K, 10K or even a half or full marathon, it’s totally normal to feel anxious in the build-up to your race. You’ll have spent months dedicating your time and effort into training for this one day, so you’re bound to feel apprehensive beforehand.
To help keep these nerves to a minimum and make sure you’re feeling calm and ready to run your best, we’ve explained some of our favourite preparation tips for the days leading up to the race.
What to do the Week Before the Race
Don’t Overthink It
When there’s just a week left until race day, many people start to overthink. What if I finish last? What if I get injured? Have I trained correctly? These are just a handful of doubts and questions you might ask yourself as you get closer to the event, but you just need to try to relax and avoid stressing about it.
At most events there’s a large number of participators and spectators in attendance, all helping to create a really friendly atmosphere. There’s no need to feel intimidated – people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities take part – so just try to embrace and enjoy the experience.
Get to Know the Route
If you haven’t already, make sure to cover the route of the event to familiarise yourself with the course. It doesn’t matter if you run, walk, cycle or even drive the route, as long as you get a rough idea of the turns, elevation and so on, you’ll be much more confident ahead of the race. If you’re a competitive runner and are aiming to win the race, understanding the nature of the route and where you’ll need to push hard can give you a slight advantage over other runners.
What to do the Days Before the Race
Eat Trusted Foods & Stick to What You Know
The last thing you want when running a long-distance event is an upset stomach, so just continue to consume your regular foods and avoid changing your diet too drastically. Although a friend might’ve recommended a particular food, or you might’ve read online that a specific drink can help give you a boost on race day, if you’re body isn’t used to it, it isn’t worth the risk.
Similarly, don’t invest in any new shoes or try different workouts – keep doing what’s got you this far and stick with what you know.
The distance you’re running will affect how much you eat, but as a general rule of thumb, eat small but frequent carbohydrate-rich meals in the days before your race. It’s advised that a marathon runner’s diet should be 80% carbohydrates in the days before a race as they’re great sources of energy – so incorporate plenty of pasta, potatoes and rice in your meals.
Prepare Your Kit
The night before you race, ensure all your kit is washed and ready to wear. Lay it out so that in the morning you know exactly where everything is and aren’t frantically searching the house for your compression tights or any other essential gear.
Relax & Get an Early Night
You want to make sure your muscles are in prime condition for the race, so try to put your feet up and relax the days beforehand. It can be difficult to unwind in the hectic world we live in, but try to delay any demanding tasks until a week or so after you’ve completed the race (you’ll also want to allow time for your body to recover afterwards).
What to do the Day of the Race
Aim to get to the race venue at least one hour before the event is due to start. It’ll give you more than enough time to register, use the loo and effectively warm up as well as get to the starting line in plenty of time.
Be sure to drink plenty of water a few hours before the race starts. Dehydration is a runner’s nightmare and can be detrimental to your performance, so this is something you certainly want to avoid.
However, try to stay away from drinking in the immediate run-up to the race as it’ll increase the likelihood of you developing a side stitch. Instead, have a few sips and if your mouth’s feeling a little dry, take a mouthful of water to rinse and spit.
Running Challenges with Race at your Pace
If you’ve entered a half marathon, 5K or any other event and are looking for an enjoyable but challenging training programme, be sure to enter one of our virtual challenges. Our exciting challenges task you to run a specified number of miles within a month to help you get fit and enjoy running, so are perfect to be used in your training schedule.
See more: What is a Virtual Challenge?
See more: Best Running Apps 2018