You have committed blood, sweat and tears to training for your upcoming race, and now, it is almost here.
Numerous hours of running trails and countless bottles of Gatorade have prepared you for the exciting challenge you are about to face.
Make the most of your run by preparing your mind and body in the days leading up to the event.
One week out:
With a little over one week left before the big race, I suggest going on your longest run yet. Push yourself to a new limit but do not run the full race mileage. This will prepare your body for the endurance and strength required the following weekend.
Stay optimistic and remember that adrenaline will push you a little further and much faster once race day arrives. This is also a good time to finalize your perfect playlist for the upcoming run; I strongly recommend adding Good Charlotte’s “I Don’t Wanna Be in Love” if you haven’t already.
Three days out:
Don’t overwork your body. Instead, mix in a yoga class to steady your breathing and increase flexibility. Your muscles will relish the intense stretching. Yoga also provides mental clarity, so send yourself some body positivity in the days before your run.
The day before:
Spend the day relaxing, preparing and hydrating. Some runners need to go on a light jog to stay loose, but others prefer to rest their bodies. If you decide to rest, know that it won’t revert your fitness or impede your endurance. Clip your toenails to ensure maximum comfort on race day. Also, I recommend laying out your running clothes to cut back on any morning stress — you don’t want to be late to the starting line because you were tracking down your favorite pair of running socks.
The night before:
Depending on how far you’re running, consider carbo-loading the night before. It’s suggested that runners consume 65-75 percent of calories from carbs in the days leading up to a race. However, don’t overdo it at dinner. Eat a typical portion size to avoid an upset stomach during your run. That night, set an alarm — or two — to guarantee you’ll wake up on time. Don’t worry if you have a tough time falling asleep; it’s normal to be excited.
Suit up, clip on your bib and get ready to run. Eat a balanced and familiar breakfast and leave plenty of time to digest your food. I prefer steel-cut oats and a banana, but a bagel and peanut butter, eggs or avocado toast will also do the trick. You just don’t want hunger to be a factor during your run. Grab your gear — an athletic watch, headphones, energy gels, etc. — before heading out to race.
You did it! Congratulations! You’re going to feel amazing and exhausted simultaneously. Take plenty of photos because you’ll want to remember this feeling later. Be sure to hydrate your body and replenish your electrolytes. And, of course, reward yourself with a burger and some beer.
The next step? Sign up for another race and head back to your training routine.