Are you interested in running a race? Most people are excited about preparing for their first running event. Whether you feel inspired in running a marathon, want to achieve your first 5K, or move up to a 10K, you may find that racing is not so difficult after all. The most important thing is you have the proper tools as well as the right mindset.
According to Katie Lawton, MEd, an exercise physiologist, regardless of what race you are running, it is important that you have the proper preparation and dedication. In this way, you can go the distance and will be able to cross that finish line. However, you should remind yourself that even though races are challenging, they should also be fun.
The following are some important steps that you must take so you can prepare for your event:
You should prioritize your sleep
During your training, be sure to sleep at least seven to eight hours each night. While some people may require less and others require more, the most important thing is that you listen to your body’s needs. There is evidence that shows that a slight sleep loss can likely affect your athletic performance.
As the race day approaches, be sure that you are well-rested. Obviously, you want to be energized and alert during the race day.
Practice and plan
No matter how many miles your race will cover, the key to conquering any distance is preparation, particularly for beginners:
To have a conditioned body, be sure to run multiple times a week. When planning for your race training schedule, figure out how many days each week you set aside for running. You could search for a training plan online or you can choose to work with a coach. Learn more about the course of the race and determine your longest training run as the race approaches.
Try to figure out beforehand, what fueling strategies are you going to use. Are you going to use electrolyte drinks, water, or energy gel during the race?
Before the race, you can experiment with different types of running clothes and decide which one is more comfortable for you. Some people’s skin can easily get irritated by certain fabrics. So, plan on what to wear during the race and make sure that it will not make you feel uncomfortable.
Have a goal and a backup goal
Maybe you have a time goal that you want to accomplish during the race day or perhaps you’d just want to be able to run the whole time. But unfortunately, there are some things that occur on race day that is beyond your control.
For instance, the weather could be bad or you feel that you are not at your best. If it rains on the day of the race, then it could likely slow down the runners. As a result, you might be having a difficult time achieving the time you wanted. However, you could plan a secondary target that you can work towards.
There could be a lot of things that are out of your control during the race day. That is why it is important that you should have a backup goal. And most often, your goal could simply be to finish the race.
Stay positive and happy
Just like what other people are saying, “attitude is everything!” It is important that you maintain a positive attitude while you are training as well as the race approaches. With a positive mental attitude, you will always be on track for success. At the same time, it can also help you in confronting those challenging situations.
But then again, you need to remember that race is supposed to be fun! You are doing something out of your comfort zone which is quite challenging. This is something that can make you feel excited and positive!
Keep yourself hydrated
Since you will be running, it is important that you should hydrate yourself before and during the race. As a runner, it is crucial that you avoid dehydration. Plain water would be the best way to go. However, take note that there is a difference between long and short races. If you are looking to run 5K and 10K, then you should consider hydrating and fueling yourself right before and after the race.
During a 10K event, some hydration may be essential. Nevertheless, it will likely depend on the person. An energy gel might not be required in these shorter races. Fueling can be done by simply eating the right kinds of foods before the race.
If you are running half and full marathons, then you should search for a fuel source or a gel that can work for you but won’t cause GI distress. It is greatly recommended that hydrating should be practiced before, during, and after long runs. This can help you in knowing what is essential during the race day.
Relax and have fun
It is quite common to have some jitters before the race. This is just a normal part of the competition. It also means that you really care about how you perform and want to do it well. In addition, a boost in adrenaline can help in improving your performance. Try to focus on things that can keep yourself calm and relaxed. For instance, you could focus on your breathing, do some stretches, or listen to music.
Try to start out slow
You should not attempt in setting a record during your first mile out. It would be ideal to pace yourself and do your strategy for achieving your time goal. Just start slowly and slowly increase your stride until you have settled on your normal pace.
Get your doctor’s approval
It would be a good idea to talk to your doctor first before you start training in any kind of race. Your doctor might give you some suggestions and advice that fits your needs and resolves your limitations in case there are any. They might even refer you to a physical therapist or any other provider to ensure that you are well prepared for the race.
Should You Run the Day Before A Race?
Absolutely! You might think that it is counterintuitive. There are several reasons why running the day before your race can help you succeed. If you want to have the best performance during the race, then you can relax with your loved ones, but at the same time, you should also run and go over your strategy for the race.
It Won’t Tire You Out
It will not make you feel tired if you run the day before a race. This is usually the biggest fear of most runners. Simply put, if you keep on training as the race is approaching, then running the day before the race won’t make your feel tired or greatly affect your performance in any way.
The truth is, it can even help in improving your performance. Regardless of what is the distance of the race that you are training for, you could consider running for 20 minutes. There won’t be any changes. The run won’t tire you out. Instead, it will prepare your body, legs, and mind so you can have the best performance the following day.
Improves Blood Flow
Running the day before the race can help in improving blood flow to your muscles, which loosens them up and delivers oxygen and nutrients which are necessary for intense running the following day.
If you are running shorter races such as 5k and 10k, then being flexible and loose can make your run feel more natural during the race day. On the other hand, for longer races such as a marathon and a half marathon, running the day prior to the race can help your muscles in storing extra glycogen, which will keep you running longer.
Energizes the Central Nervous System
Communication between your brain and muscles is done within the neuromuscular system. Stimulating the neuromuscular system can increase the speed at which your brain sends signals to your muscles. At the same time, your body will activate more muscle fibers. The nervous system responds faster to new stimuli since the recovery and growth cycle is short. The fact is, slight improvements to your neuromuscular coordination can be observed in less than a day.
On the contrary, degradation of the neuromuscular system can likely occur within a day or two. In other words, if you do not run the day before the race, then your neuromuscular system won’t be performing excellently.
Can Keep the Nerves Calm
It is undeniable that you will feel anxious the day before a race. One of the best benefits that you can get when you run the day before the race is that it can calm your nerves. This is the perfect time that you can go over your race plan and think of any possible scenarios. It can also make you mentally prepared. Try to feel more confident and more prepared. You could also choose to run with a group to stay away from nervous thoughts.
Team Enduro offers training packages to help you succeed. For more information, you can call us at + 858.336.7410 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.