Time to start thinking about race day
- If you have missed some training, don’t try to over-compensate -you will risk injury. Best to try to do the recommended number of days training as noted in your training plan. If you are struggling with what has been set, reset your target for the race and be realistic - overdoing things at this stage will only lead to problems and affect your enjoyment of the race. If you need to, introduce some short walking periods into your training runs.
- Try to do some training runs at the same time of day as the race - this will get your body more used to running at that time of day so it won’t come as a shock.
- Ease off training in the final two weeks before the race - this is called tapering. Reducing the frequency, while retaining some of the intensity of your training runs will help your legs feel fresh, bouncy and fast come race day!
- What time do you plan to complete the race in? Work out how long this is for each mile (your mile splits) - an even pace is often the best way to complete a race.
- Practice your planned race pace during training, though not over the full race distance (save the big effort for race day!). A few miles during a training run at your planned race pace will get your mind and body attuned to what is required, but shouldn’t over-fatigue you.
- On race day, try to stick to your planned pace - it’s so easy to start off too fast and have nothing left in the tank for the later miles. It’s worth writing your personal mile splits on the back of your hand before the race so you can keep track of your progress during the race as you pass the mile or kilometre marker signs on the race route.
- Buy and try out any new running gear in advance of race day - it's best not to wear new gear for the first time at the race. Our retail partners Run4It stock Scotland’s widest selection of specialist running footwear, apparel and accessories so why not check out their great offers at www.run4it.com or pop into one of their 7 shops in Scotland for some friendly advice?
- Pack your bag for race day the evening before. Have the kit you want to wear laid out so you are not searching around at the last minute - the running part can be stressful enough without any last-minute hitches! Have a look at the weather forecast and wear appropriate clothing, making sure you've packed plenty of kit for before and after the race too.
Food and Drink
- Think about what and when you will eat before the race - then try it in the weeks before to make sure it doesn’t cause you any discomfort.
- If you’re planning to take your own drinks during the race, practice with them during your training runs. Taking on drinks can be harder than you think when trying to run at the same time. Find out in advance what drinks work best for you – there are loads of different types out there, so it’s worth seeking some advice about what may be best for you. Our retail partners Run4It stock a wide selection of sports nutrition products and staff at any of their 7 shops across Scotland will be pleased to offer advice to you.
- In the week before your race avoid alcohol and keep hydrated. Drinking small, regular amounts throughout the day is much more effective than simply gulping down a couple of litres of fluid once a day!
- Think about your pre-race routine. How are you going to get there and how long will it take you? Bear in mind that this is a mass participation run so there will be thousands of others making the same trip as you. Check for public transport issues, and bear in mind there are always long queues for the toilets at big races!
- Try to get a few good nights’ sleep in the bag - it’s likely that you may not sleep that well on the night before the race due to nervousness, and excitement.
- Try not to spend all of the day before you race on your feet. It’s not the day to go shopping! If you can, have a relaxing day and put your feet up.
- Re-read all of the race info sent to you, along with the information on the race website.
- Be road-wise: watch out for cyclists approaching you from behind and try to keep to the right – especially if you are running with music.
- Monitor your breathing – if it seems too hard, slow down or walk a bit until you feel comfortable again.
- Hydrate - make it a habit to drink water or a sports drink throughout the day.
- To aid recovery after a training run the best time to eat and drink is in the hour immediately after you run. Food and drinks which are high in protein are preferable and aid the re-building and recovery process.
- It is easier and safer to run with someone rather than running alone. Join a running club if you can or find a training partner.
Mix Up Your Training
Adopt a common sense approach to your training. It's a good idea to mix things up by adding in some cycling or swimming for example - though you should always:
- Obtain proper instruction for the correct use of any machinery - whether it’s your own or at a gym.
- Maximise benefit - and minimise the risk of injury - by adopting correct form, technique and posture.
- Remember that cross training is not intended to replace running - e.g. a 2-hour bike ride instead of a 90-minute long run will not provide the training effect needed to run a half marathon.
- Include rest days – probably the most important part of any training plan is rest and recovery – it’s during these periods that your body adapts to the training load. Ideally, at least one day per week should be a complete rest day with no physical activity at all. It may suit to take this rest day the day before your long run.
- Listen to your body - soreness and niggles can be a sign of over-training and can lead to more serious injury.
- Stretch thoroughly before and after each work out (but remember not to stretch ‘cold’ muscles beforehand – walk briskly or jog for a few minutes before stretching and, if possible, make the stretches dynamic rather than static i.e. movement-based).
All running tips are provided by Scott Kennedy, Manager at Run 4 It Bothwell Street, Club Runner and Qualified Coach for any queries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org