PREPARING FOR RACE DAY

As pairs of spikes are dug out and dusted off, and the smell of deep heat fills indoor tracks across the nation, it’s time to start getting excited about racing! Race day can be an anxious, stressful and downright nerve-wracking day, however, the more calm and relaxed you are, the easier the day can be, so here are 3 main tips to help keep you … on track ? (I’m sorry, I had to).

?‍♀️ Find ways to switch off

We can all be guilty of spending many hours pondering our training sessions, both the good ones and the bad ones. And then we spend more time thinking about the race itself, what could go well, and what could go wrong, and before we know it, we’ve stressed ourselves out overthinking about something, that ultimately, is out of our control. This is energy we don’t need to expend, especially before a race.

It’s why it’s really important to find the time to switch off and not be an athlete for the day, especially the day before. You can think about racing when the day itself comes, but for now, find ways to entertain yourself and distract your wandering mind.

For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than delving into a good book, escaping into someplace else,

Nap (if that’s your thing). 
Netflix all day.
Text your friends. 

My point is, find ways to try and get off your feet and relax your body.

Prepare as much as you can the night before.

I find that preparing the night before helps to alleviate any stresses of the ‘unknown’, which further helps keep me calm. Prepare your bag with all the things you’ll need on race day. I will pack my foam roller, any stretch bands, my headphones, snacks, hydration drinks and if I need to, any meals (for longer race days).

I would also lay out my race kit and any extra clothes I’d need, so when it comes to the morning of, as my darling sister Lina says, “you’re not wasting time, faffing about trying to find s***.”

The night before, find time to have a bit of a stretch before you go to bed. Stretching is known to loosen up any tight muscles and maintain a range of motion in the joints, but some of the lesser known benefits includes improvement of blood flow, stress relief and can also calm your mind.

Furthermore, loosely plan out your day, so you’re not rushing around and stressing out more than you need to. Consider when you’re going to leave, when you’ll have your meals, when you’ll start warming up etc. This, again, helps to manage what can seem like the ‘unknowns’ of race day.

Once you’ve prepared, make sure you get adequate sleep. Try to sleep for 8 hours of sleep the night before, but also the few days leading up to your competition.

? Fuel-up

It’s so important to stick to what you know and what will give you energy for the day ahead.  Race day is the day to choose easy-to-digest foods, such as simple carbs like bread, pasta, oatmeal, fruits, low-fibre cereals, yoghurt and juice. Again with nutrition (I mentioned in my nutrition blog post) on race day – knowledge is power. Understanding the qualities of, benefits and differences of your macros can help you decide what to eat.

Try to avoid eat anything too heavy before your race, and plan to eat your meals 3-4 hours before your race starts.  If you struggle to eat on race day, try making a smoothie containing fruit and yogurt as it gives you a good balance of protein and carbs.

It’s also very important to stay hydrated (especially indoors because the air inside is usually VERY dry). Add electrolytes to ensure you are sufficiently hydrated (I like to use SIS’s Hydro Tabs or SOS’s hydration sticks.)

Lastly, fuelling up also means eating right the few days leading up to competition. Personally, I like to consume more carbs the few days before a race, to completely top up my glycogen stores (our main energy source).

And there we have it! Three things to be mindful of when preparing for race day.

Then the rest will take care of itself!

Don’t worry if you’re really nervous on the day – nerves can be a good thing. The brain perceives physical and psychological stress and starts to prepare the body for “battle” by pumping chemicals through your body. Your heart beats faster. Your blood pressure increases. Your senses sharpen. Adrenaline is increased, and that’s great for racing.


Happy racing!  ?‍♀️?

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