To build on my PT progress I’ve been studying biomechanics and running composition whilst speaking to some top physios here in Manchester to get a greater understanding of how athletes prepare and recover for events.
Unfortunately due to back injuries and two sprained ankles I wasn’t able to follow my own programme, having a rough 8 week lead up to Rome Half which I competed in last Sunday.
Nevertheless: here are my 7 tips for the 7 days leading up to a race, a quick guide to getting a good pre race week aka your taper week.
1. Don’t be a dick.
You want to feel like you have fresh legs on race day so don’t go hammering yourself to pieces in the week leading up to a race, however good you feel or however tempting it may be to over train.
2. Continue with your training programme but lay off the extra miles.
For example: 7 days before your actual race should really be your last long run, …5 days before go for an easy medium length run, 3 days before try and get in another easy run. This will keep you ticking over and help build and maintain your confidence for race day. An easy run is around 90 seconds slower per mile (so if you normally run one mile in 7:25 minutes slow down to 9:00 minute miles // one km in 4:50 minutes slow down to 6:00 minute km). This is unless, of course, you’re an advanced runner and you’ve been smashing out half marathons everyday for the past month, to which, again, I’d still say lighten up the pace and miles during taper week. The aim is to feel fresh and confident on race day.
3. Ditch the Java.
This is personal, but the likes of Radcliffe and Farah do it so it’s good enough for me too. Lay off the caffine altogether for one week, then on race day treat yourself to a double (ITALIAN) espresso (I ended up having a double and a cappuchino in Rome and was pretty pumped at the start line!!)…this will give you a MASSIVE pre race kick.
4. Give it a rest.
Carry on with your other workouts but again lighten off a bit: so don’t overdo your weight training, cycling or swim training if you do that too.
5. Smash up the H20.
So much so your urine looks fit enough to nearly bathe in: YUM! The clearer the better. This is so you are totally hydrated on race day, meaning you don’t need to drink a lot during the race. You won’t be able to run properly with a belly full of agua.
6. Carb loading.
Carb load the 2 days before your race. But don’t get silly. Remember, go for low GI carbs like Sweet Potato, Oats, Soya, Linseed, Brocolli, Carrots, Sweetcorn etc all have LOW GI. Brown pasta if you must (When in Rome…)
7. RACE DAY don’t have a big breakfast.
I stick to a banana or something light, and I’ll take a gel with me. This is so my body can focus on running rather than having to digest lots of food. Banana, sugary coffee and gels all have super duper hi GIs which be hella useful for the race.
FINALLY!! JUST ENJOY IT!
Life’s too short! Yes push, but don’t forget to take in the crowd, the atmosphere, other people. That’ll be what you remember from the day!
Hope you found some of that useful! Now, go forth and run!! xxx