Runners enjoy running. Being breathless and sweaty after overcoming another medium-distance training can leave us feeling exhilarated. So we easily assume that we’re invincible – we like to think that we don’t need resting, and just more compression gear should suffice. But like any other complex machinery, our body needs taking care of and proper maintenance is especially needed before race day.
We give you 5 tips to make your race day better.
The Mistake: Going for a final training run
If you’ve been training a few weeks for this race, it’d be even more difficult to pull in the reigns and allow yourself to rest. Your muscles and ligaments have worked hard these past weeks. Just like studying for your ‘A’ levels (here’s to those right in the midst of it!), you need to take breaks. Recharge. Give your body enough time to repair its muscles so that you may feel refreshed on race day. What you should do: Do dynamic workouts such as squats and lunges, and keep them light.
The Mistake: Carb loading
You organise a buffet session with your buddies to load up glycogen stores for the race. Sounds like a win-win situation. That only works if you’re planning on eating whole grains and nuts. These are the right carbs that would actually leave you feeling satisfied and energised for next day’s run. Otherwise, bad carbs such as pizza and fries are just going to give you a ‘sugar rush’ and leave you hungrier the next day. Furthermore, eating too much at one go might screw up your digestive system. What you should do: Make good carbs the main portions of your meals and eat just enough to feel satisfied.
The Mistake: New workout gear
Outfits that your body isn’t comfortable with might interfere with your race day performance. For new shoes, you might end up with blisters at the front of your foot or near the ankles. Your running gait might also change slightly due to the unfamiliar shape of the shoes. What you should do: Stick with what you trained for and are comfortable in.
The Mistake: Sleeping late
Catching up on TV drama till 5am in the morning is unwise. For obvious reasons, you don’t get enough rest. Ideally, give you the 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. It allows other systems to go into standby and repair mode. That is crucial for endurance athletes and even more so before the race, when you need to feel as energized as possible. What you should do: Wind down for the night once dinner has ended and go to bed early
The Mistake: Alcohol
Drinking alcohol leaves you dehydrated and just 2 percent of dehydration can slow you down. Furthermore, it causes you to take more bathroom breaks. If it happens at night, it interrupts your sleep. If it happens during the race, it disrupts your race time. What you should do: Drink water throughout the day. Sometimes, you might continue to feel dehydrated, try taking electrolyte drinks then.
There are a couple of other things that might make you feel ever ready for your race. It could be a jolt of caffeine or getting up early and moving the next day. The general rule of thumb here is that you should avoid over-stimulating your body with anything too harsh (like running at the last minute) or too unexpected (like carb loading).