Updated: Apr 27
Runners put a ton of thought and planning into their training schedule.
The right combination of hard workouts, recovery efforts, weekly mileage and long runs are the key ingredients necessary to getting a PR run or executing a successful race plan.
The week right before a race is a critical component to race day success and running fast.
Some us even have a race week plan we execute in the final days and hours leading up to our A- race. Small mis-haps in this tiny timeframe before a race can spell disaster regardless of how fit you are.
Before my first 100K cycling ride - I remember going out to lunch the Wed or Thursday before and ordering Pad Thai with extra spicy garlic sauce. You know what happened? Several days later, the Saturday of my big ride to be exact - my belly started to burn - at mile 35 - I had pad thai runs. I kid you not...days later my lunch literally came back to "bite me" ~ Camille
How Can You Maximize Race Day Success?
Avoid Common Pre-Race Mistakes
How can you stack the deck in your favor to increase your chances of success on race day? There are some common pre-race myths and mistakes that most runners do before their race them deny greatness.
Let's examine some of those myths, lies, mistakes and how to avoid them on race week so you can run your best race.
Race Day Misconception 1: Warming up will make you tired for the race.
Many runners don’t know the importance of warming up before a race. Not only will a warm-up prime your muscles for hard cycling or running, it will boost your performance and help prevent injuries.
When we asked a few runners if they warm up before a race - the number one response - NO. Primary reason is that they are concerned it will make them tired before the race.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve made this mistake. We all have. I remember thinking my high school basketball coach was crazy when he told me to jog for 15 minutes before the start of my game.
“Uh coach Carbonara, running makes me tired and I’ve got this big game coming up - where I have plenty running to do up and down the cart - , you know.”
Of course, I was sooooo wrong. First quarter my defence was so on point that I wore out the player I was guarding.
If you’ve put in the work during your training to prepare for your goal race, jogging or warming up 10 to 15 minutes followed by some short, fast accelerations before a race will not wear you out in no way. You won’t get tired.
Warming up before a race will increase your core body temperature, -- which speeds oxygen throughout the body and primes the muscles for hard running or cycling.
By warming up before your races, you’ll toe the line ready for optimal performance, and avoid using the first few miles of the race to get into a rhythm/groove.
Race Day Misconception 2: A rest day before the race will keep your legs fresh.
The day before a race is an important day and one that’s full of decisions that can affect your performance out on the course.
The day before your big race you should fuel properly and prepare your body and mind for your best performance the next day.
One of the most common mistakes runners make is resting the day before the race.
Just like the myth of not wanting to warm up for fear of getting tired, many runners think that running the day before a race will make their legs tired for the next day.
This is false!
Not only will running the day before not make you tired, but it can dramatically improve your performance.
Just ask any one in FastChix or SwimBikeRun Fun tribe - a shake out run or ride the day before an endurance running, cycling or triathlon event - gets you on the podium and at the very minimum serves you up a confident swagger at the start line.
Regardless if you’re racing a mile or a marathon, a 10 to 20-minute run the day before a race won’t hurt you.
If your recovery runs during the hardest portion of your training cycle have enabled you to adequately recover between hard workouts, what would change the day before your race?
The answer is nothing. A short run serves to prepare your body and mind to perform well the following day.
When racing a the half marathon or marathon, running the day before will even help your muscles store extra glycogen.
Race Day Misconception 3: Holder of the perfect race plan.
A race will almost always never go exactly as planned. It doesn’t matter how well-trained you are or how much time you’ve spent plotting the perfect strategy, something is likely to happen that you didn’t expect.
Veteran runners have enough race experience that they’ve seen just about everything and are generally more prepared for any circumstance.
Unfortunately, most beginners can be thrown off their target much easier and thus need more practice.
The best way to mentally prepare for something going wrong in a race is to use visualization techniques in the weeks and days before you step on the starting line.
🧘♀️Visualize your worst fears & as many different scenarios you can think of and formulate a plan of attack in your mind. By conjuring up these fears, emotions, sights and sounds, you can prepare yourself to remain calm and collected so you can execute in a chaotic environment.
If any of your scenarios happen during the race, you’ll know exactly what to do and it won’t throw you off your game.