As race day approaches, you mostly likely fall into one of two categories. You have been following a training plan to prime you for a strong race performance, or you signed up for the big race and all that training you thought would happen… never did. I am certain there are many of you that have done exactly this. Regardless of which camp you fall into, these three tips will help energize and prep you for race day.
1. Don’t Overdo It Before the Race
Depending on how lax your training has been, you may not be anywhere near prepared to perform at the level you want for the whole duration of the event. It might sound appropriate to go all out and train hard every day leading up the race, but this bootcamp style approach will leave you burnt out. To give it your all on race day, you need to taper off your training in the days or week prior. For example, that means that if you are running a 10k, in the days prior to the race only do a couple of runs at moderate intensity that are significantly shorter than the race distance like 6 or 7k. This helps make sure your body is rested for race day.
2. Stay Hydrated
Your water intake in the week prior to the even matters just as much, if not more, than your water intake the day of the race. That may be a shocker to some of you. Hydration is a longer-term function of water intake to expenditure than we typically imagine. You can’t go dehydrated all week and then chug a bunch of water before the race to fix the problem. To stay well hydrated, drink one glass of water immediately when you get out of bed in the morning and another glass just before bed. Additionally, carry a refillable water bottle with you and sip throughout the day trying to finish it two to three times (water intake needs vary on your size).
3. Get Enough Sleep
There might be no better change to make leading up to the event than making sure you get enough sleep each night. I don’t mean just enough sleep to make it through the day behind 5 cups of coffee. I mean enough sleep for your body to truly recover. Studies have shown that simply being short on sleep leads to an increased breakdown of muscle proteins and decreased fat metabolism. This is exactly the opposite of what you want to maintain strength and stamina leading up to your big event. Aim for 8.5 hours of sleep per night to stay strong and energized. It is well worth reorganizing your schedule and even missing other activities to be properly rested.
Whether you have been true to your training or are just realizing the daunting lack of time until race day these 3 tips will help boost your performance on race day. It is important to be conscious and aware of the training and lifestyle choices you are making especially in the days and weeks prior to an event. Take these tips and give them a go! You may be surprised just how much better you feel on the big day.