Preparing for your big race day extends beyond your training. Find out what else you need to do to prep your mind and body to score a better timing.
If you’ve been training hard for your upcoming race, you don’t want all those efforts to go to waste because of a pre-race blunder like missing your alarm. In the days or weeks leading up to your race, gear up properly with these tips to ensure a better race timing.
1. Pack your bag and load your music in advance
Reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety by packing everything you need the night before. Don’t give yourself unnecessary pressure from searching for your favourite tights or your lucky top in the morning of your race. Lay out what you need to wear so that you can dress and go on the day itself. If you need music to keep you going, prep your playlist in advance. Basically, you want your morning to be as smooth and stress-free as possible.
2. Hydrate well in the days leading up to the race
Keep drinking up for a well-hydrated body to deal with the relentless sun, but don’t overdo it on race day. Drink small amounts consistently right before the race instead of downing a large bottle of water at once. This is to avoid starting the race with a heavy stomach or running the risk of getting a side stitch. If you need a dose of caffeine in the morning, go for black coffee and keep it to one cup.
3. Know the course
Looking up the course map beforehand will let you know what to expect during the race. For instance, anticipating an upcoming uphill or downhill means you’re able to train for it. This will prep you to tackle the more challenging parts of the course. You can even do visualisation exercises to ensure you’re physically and mentally prepared for those parts of the race.
4. Rest up
Due to pre-race jitters, you may find it difficult to fall asleep the night before the race. That’s why, don’t leave it till the last minute to get proper rest. Ensure you get adequate sleep at least two nights before the race.
5. Set an alarm
To determine your wake-up time, work backwards from the start time of the race, taking traffic, parking, bag deposit and toilet trips into consideration. The last thing you want is to miss your race altogether because you completely missed your alarm. If you are a deep sleeper, get your friends who are also participating in the race to give you a wake up call to make sure you’re up in time.
6. Stay updated
On the day before and on race day itself, check the race website or your email for last-minute updates. It is also worth looking up the weather forecast. Knowing whether the race course is going to be wet and muddy prepares you mentally and ensures that you won’t be caught by surprise if the terrain turns out to be more challenging due to bad weather.
7. Stick to tried-and-tested exercises
Avoid strength training or introducing new exercises during the days leading up to your race. Sore muscles may spell trouble for your hopes of attaining a better race timing. Continue with your workout plan and make sure you’re doing exercises that your body is familiar with.
8. Go for light workouts
It’s unlikely that you’ll get fitter and faster overnight, so don’t attempt to cram your training within the days leading up to the big race. Go for easy runs or low-impact cross-training exercises such as swimming or cycling. If you prefer ample rest the day before your race, go ahead and engage in some relaxing activities along with light stretching.
9. Determine your race pace
You can determine your pace by referring to your previous race timing. Be realistic with your goals and know your limits. If you are embarking on your first race, you can do time trials to determine your race pace. Set your targeted finishing time to work out the average pace you have to maintain. For example, if you are aiming to complete a marathon in four hours, your race pace should be (4 x 60) / 42.195 = 5:41min/km
10. Pre-arrange to run the race with someone
If you’re going for your first race, why not ask someone along? You can plan to go for the race with someone experienced who runs at your pace. It’d also be good to train together to familiarise with each other’s pacing abilities. Motivate and spur each other on during the race to attain your desired timing.
Looking for a running buddy? Join Shape Run’s 10km race, and run alongside friendly and experienced female pacers who will take you through 6min/km, 7min/km and 8min/km paces respectively. With their non-judgmental attitudes and endless encouragement, you’ll end the race feeling positive and proud of yourself. Register for Shape Run here and enjoy early bird rates while they last.