Regardless of whether it’s a marathon, a half marathon, a 10 k or 5k race, when race day is approaching, you should have a plan for backing off from your training in the same way that you had a plan for increasing your training originally. Depending on how far the distance is that you will be covering, your training will have varied and so too should your pre-race preparation.
But regardless, your plan should include elements of tapering your runs, eating smarter and simulating ‘race day’ conditions. These elements of your training are just as important as the peaks in your training the past couple of weeks.
Two weeks before race day, you should start tapering your runs as generally speaking, you should have the core of your training done (including long runs and speed workouts) two weeks prior to your race. After that, your training is down to maintenance and injury prevention. this is moreso important for marathon or half-marathon runners. If you are running a 5k or a 10k, you will be training a little bit longer in the run up to your big day!
The week before, start each day by getting up early and going out for you run after something small to eat. Refuel and go about your day after a good stretch. You need to ensure your body is used to earlier mornings and the routine that comes with race day or an early rise and early breakfast!
Three days in, make sure you do what feels natural for you. Some runners, particularly long distance runners, feel it better to refrain from any long runs the week or the race, other feel that one last run will make them feel top of their game. Generally speaking, 5k or 10k runners find themselves more comfortable doing their last speed race three days before race day. This is usually personal to the individual and you will learn from experience what works for you!
The day before your race should be as relaxing as possible. If you don’t know the course, drive or walk it (when possible). This way you will get a general idea of where you will be going, hills, steep turns etc… Don’t try any new foods that might upset your stomach and make sure to get to bed early. Put everything you will be bringing to the race in your bag the night before so you feel calm and prepared leaving the house and set out the clothes and the shoes you will be wearing too. You want to keep all of your energy for the big day!
Best of luck from all at The Edge: Clontarf!