This is the first installment of a two part series on hints and tips to use during race week and race day. We are towards the end of the racing season, and for most of us, their A race may just be a few weeks or months away. Much time and energy has gone into preparing physically for the race. This article will detail some key points an age group athlete can use to the week leading up to their A race of the season.
#1 Maintain race specific intensity in training. You are in full taper mode after giving the last 12-16 weeks of the best effort you have, now your volume has been greatly reduced. You will still need to maintain intensity, don’t make the mistake of making each workout easy. Your body needs several shorter periods of race pace to keep it fresh.
#2 Resist the urge to smash yourself. A sign of a good taper is that 3-5 days out of your key race you are itching to get out and get to business. Fight the temptation to do so, and remain focused on your race goals. Insert some short raced paced efforts to your taper workouts to calm the feeling to need to hammer for hours.
# 3 Keep a steady eye on your diet. In taper time, your training volume will be reduced. As a result, you will not be burning calories at the rate you did during heavy training. Your body will not need the extra energy, so make sure that you don’t over eat. It is natural to gain a few pounds in the last week of a taper, but don’t allow yourself to keep your hand in the cookie jar!!!
#4 There is no need to carbo-load. This tip goes along with #3, but I think it has enough significance to be on its own. Since you are not burning as many calories, your body does not need any extra energy. Remain to eat normal, and since your training level is lower, the body will top itself off naturally. Go ahead and eat well balanced meals, including carbohydrates in your pre-race dinner. But, refrain from eating pasta the entire week!!
#5 Get off your feet as much as you can. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible during your race week. This means when you register at the race site, don’t spend all day walking around the expo. Be mindful of your rest throughout the week. Get as much sleep as possible in the days leading up to your race to insure that you are 100% rested and ready to toe the line on race morning.
#6 Have a plan. You have done the work, now develop your plan. Have a plan for the days leading into the race, and then have your race plan. A detailed race plan will help you mentally prepare for any situation you may face in the race, but most importantly use it as a guide to assist you in your race pacing.
Enjoy your race week, enjoy the fact that you have worked so hard and your race is in sight. Use these tips to help put the finishing touches on your preparations. All for now, happy training, and good luck racing.