The weekend of the Manchester Marathon is here and less than 48 hours to race start! Whether your running on Sunday or your event is on the horizon we thought we would have a quick think about these last 2 days pre-race!
The major work towards the big day is over but these last few hours up to the race can help you to optimise your potential.
Taming the temptation not to taper!
- Whether you are loving the tapering part of the training or struggling with the change of routine. That 48-hour workout before a race should be relatively easy, so you’re not fatigued on race morning, but it should include a small amount of speed to prime your nervous system for competition. For example, run 5km easy, then run 6 x 30-second relaxed sprints.
- The day before the race, if you are comfortable to rest then do so, but a short easy work out of up to a 20-minute jog has been shown to relieve mental and physical tension.
- Then try to take it easy, staying off your feet as much as possible, if you are on your feet wear comfortable footwear.
The best time to start carb-loading is right after your short, fast workout (48 hours before), when your muscles are most receptive to glucose. Choose foods that have worked well for your body before now is not the time to experiment and risking upset tummy or bloating. Choosing foods with higher percentage carbohydrates is better than increasing your portion sizes!
A well as the carbs don’t forget the importance of remaining well hydrated in the run up to race day.
Getting some good shut eye!
Getting adequate sleep is critical to endurance performance at all times, but because of pre-race jitters and early-morning race starts, it can be difficult to get a full eight hours of shuteye the night before a race. So be sure to get a good, long sleep two nights before if possible.
The night before!
- Get your gear together.
- Make sure you are happy with your travel arrangements and race day plan.
- Trim your toe nails!
Make sure you have plenty of time to get up and get sorted. Research on the relationship between circadian rhythms and exercise performance suggests that optimal performance is not possible within a couple hours of waking up in the morning. Nutrition is more important than sleep on race morning, so it’s also important to wake up in plenty of time to consume and digest a high-carb pre-race breakfast.
- Start your warmup about half an hour before your race start.
- A warm-up raises body temperature, increases heart rate and mobilises the joints.
- Even though running is predominantly a lower-body activity, this does not mean you want to focus purely on a lower body warm-up. Mobilise all the major joints of the body including the neck, shoulders, waist, hips, knees and ankles. These should all be things you are used to doing as part of your training, don’t try a new stretch or pattern race morning!
- Take a walk, gradually increasing your speed and range of movement to break into a slow jog.
- Then some more running-specific moves – to enhance ‘neuromuscular coordination’ so that your running efficiency is maximised.
- Hamstring swings put the hip through a full range of movement with no impact, and warm up the hamstrings. Stand side on to a support and with your knee bent, lift leg to hip height, and swing it up, down and back in a circular motion, the leg almost fully extended at the end of the back swing. Do 10-20 on each leg, increasing the range and speed with each one but maintaining control throughout.
- Reverse walking (yes, walking backwards) activates the gluteal muscles, which are important in stabilising the pelvis during running. It also helps to improve coordination. Try four to six steps, and repeat eight times.
- Prone kicks These put your knee joints through a full range of motion without the impact of running – helping to get the synovial fluid moving, protecting and feeding the joint cartilage.
- Lie face down with your forehead resting on your folded arms and your stomach gently pulled in. Bring one foot up towards your buttock and then take it back to the floor, simultaneously bringing the other foot up to your rear. Start slowly and gradually speed up, kicking for one to two minutes. Maintaining pelvis stability.
- Finish off with a few ‘strides’. These are short runs of about 25m in which you accelerate from a slow start to a brisk pace. Then you should be primed and ready to go.
- Should you stretch before a run is always a hot topic of debate. If you feel particularly tight in an area, then gentle stretches, you are used to doing, once you are warm can help you feel more prepared mentally and physically.
Then Good luck and try to relax and enjoy the enormous achievement from all the hard work you have put in