On Your Marks...
From the August 2012 issue of Runner’s World
Plan ahead for the days and hours leading up to a race
By Jeff Galloway
It’s perfectly normal to experience a wide range of emotions the week before a race of any distance, whether it’s 5K or 42.2. Excitement, anxiety, even dread can sweep over you in those final days. Harbouring all that nervous energy simply means you care about having a good day, whether your race goal is just to finish or to run a faster time. The best way to counter those jitters is to have a plan for each day that will prepare your body – and ease your mind.
Walk or cross-train for 30 to 60 minutes. Run or drive the course, or review a map of it online. Familiarising yourself with the hills, turns and final stretch helps you plan your strategy.
Run easy for 30 minutes. Do two to three one-minute accelerations to wake up your legs. Look through your running log to reaffirm your progress.
Spend 30 minutes cross-training to channel nervous energy. Organise logistics: know how to get to the event, when to arrive and where to park.
Run for 30 minutes and visualise running strong to the finish. Surf YouTube for past Olympic races. Watching great athletes will further inspire you.
Walk for 30 minutes. Mentally rehearse your race-day plan: visualise lining up, starting slowly and using your run/walk strategy from the beginning.
Go for a 20-minute walk, then chill out. Get organised: set your alarm; lay out your running gear, fluid and snacks; pin the race number; lace the timing chip; and prep your breakfast.
Warm up by walking to the starting line and spend the first kilometre of the race easing into your pace. Remember to look around and soak up the good vibes.
Q Do I need to spend time cooling down after a race?
A Yes! Walking for 10 to 20 minutes will hasten your recovery. The movement will keep blood from pooling in your legs, and the circulation will flush waste products from your muscles that contribute to next-day soreness.
Running Jargon Translated: Timing Chip
Devices that record run time between mats located at the start and finish lines. Many attach to your shoe through your laces; some races embed them in your bib number.
Fact or Fiction?
Races are postponed for rain.
Fiction: The race will typically proceed. Waiting for the start can be miserable, but once you get moving, you’ll warm up. If there’s lightning, the race may be delayed until the danger has passed. A complete cancellation is rare.
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