Race day preparation: carb loading, playlists and more
By Genny Owen
3 min 20 sec read
Tackling her first marathon this year, she’s done all the legwork so you don’t have to.
So it’s a week before your race (maybe even your first ever race) and the countdown has begun! I don’t know about you, but as race day draws closer, I find my mind and emotions flick all over the place… from excitement to nervousness, uncertainty to confidence and then back again. So I’m going to share with you a couple of last minute tips to hopefully keep you feeling fresh, both physically and mentally for your big day.
The week before your race, make sure you don’t do anything crazy or over-do it training wise. I’d recommend doing a couple of shorter, easy runs and then have complete rest the day before, if not two. This should hopefully give your body time to recover from any little aches or pains and ensure you feel on top form on race day. Sleep is also key. There’s nothing worse than feeling lethargic or groggy, so aim for a solid 8 hours sleep the days leading up to your event.
Stick to your routine
This applies to a number of things, the first of which is food. Whilst it’s important to be sufficiently fuelled up for your race, just stick to what you’ve been eating whilst training. For example, if you’ve been eating salmon and rice the night before, then a bowl of porridge an hour before your run, don’t eat a massive bowl of pasta the night before and then porridge, plus peanut butter toast in the morning just because it’s race day. Not only are you likely to feel bloated and uncomfortable, your body may well react differently, leaving you regretting your decision! So just keep it simple and go with what you’ve tried and tested. The second point this relates to is gear. Whilst you might be tempted to splash out on a snazzy new pair of trainers for race day, it’s not a great idea the week before a race. You won’t have had sufficient time to wear them in and as a result, could end up with sore feet, blisters and frankly, not a very enjoyable race experience.
I find it helps calm my nerves and stops me stressing if I sort out and plan ahead a few little things. For example, the night before the race, I lay out everything i’m going to wear and pack a small bag with anything i think i’ll need (layers of clothing pre/post race, water, snacks). I can then head to bed without my mind running through a checklist. It’s also wise to arrive at the event early, especially if it’s your first race. Get your bearings, your bib number etc. There’s no point arriving at a race flustered and stressed out, with minutes to spare and your heart rate already through the roof! So these few simple steps should help you avoid that.
Runday = funday
The most important point is to enjoy it! Done right, running and races are meant to be fun, leaving you wanting to sign up for more. It’s completely normal to feel a little nervous ahead of your race though. Try to soak up the atmosphere and use other runners or the crowd to cheer you on through if you’re struggling. Don’t sprint out of the start line either. Other runners may well wizz past you but that’s okay, everyone’s at different levels so don’t try to play catch up. Instead, pace yourself and run at a speed you feel is comfortable and consistent for you. Leave any sprinting for that final push when you see the finish line and then celebrate in style!
Forgotten any last minute bits and bobs? No worries, head to Wiggle Run who have everything and anything you need so that you’re race ready!
If you’re a fan of running with music then we’ve got you covered. Head to the Let’s Do This Spotify account for some big beats to get you pumped. Whether you’re feeling rap, rock, relaxing music or remixes, the LDT team has pulled together a selection of your dream playlists to suit your mood.