You’ve been training, getting in those miles, stretching, eating right, getting rest and the race you’ve been gearing up for is a week out. What do you do?!
Well, the first thing you DON’T do…is stress! Look, you’ve been training for this (hopefully you’ve been training…if you haven’t, then maybe stressing is justified) and now it’s a matter of getting you to the start line ready to go. Let’s go over a few things that will help keep you safe, and more importantly sane, for race day.
Don’t stop training
This week should be about tapering your mileage to store energy in those legs for rest day. During the week try two or three short runs with a couple sprint segments (think telephone pole to telephone pole while running out on the road) to keep your legs loose and keep the “snap” in your legs for that race day kick. The main goal of race week workouts is to strike a balance between resting and keeping you raring to go on race day.
Recon the Course
Hopefully the race is close enough that you can actually go out and run or drive it to get a better idea of each turn, hill or decline and prepare yourself for them. Knowing where to push it or go easy can certainly make your race more enjoyable and successful. If you can’t get to the course, 3D mapping tools like Google’s “Street View” can also give you an idea of what the course looks like and what to expect.
Visualize your race
Never underestimate the power of visualization! Now that you have an idea of the course, start mentally rehearsing your successful day: from the moment you wake up, your pre-race warmup (or any rituals you might have), running the course, passing fellow racers while setting a new personal best, to crossing the finish line with a smile on your face! This is a great way to set the tone for your race and give you something to fall back on as your race progresses. And remember, ALWAYS be positive! Every race is a learning experience and there’s always something positive to take away from every race no matter your skill level.
Don’t try anything new
You’ve been training for weeks or months and gotten your body accustomed to a routine of workouts, food and rest. The last thing you want to do is gunk up your fine-tuned machine by altering your workouts, diet, or sleep. This week is NOT the time to try out the new energy goo or a new pair of running shoes or that crazy hill climb workout you’ve been eyeballing! The key here is to maintain what you’re doing.