For some seasoned racers, the day before starting a race can be quite stressful. Just think about it! With all the extreme hard work and hope invested in achieving your goal, you want to reach the starting line feeling healthy, calm and run for the best. But you need to follow certain aspects that can keep you on track during the critical hours and days before the gun fires.
So let’s check what they are –
Most runners always worry about the amount of sleep they get at night just before the big day. Naturally, the more critical they think about the race, the less sleep they get. All you need to do is relax. Of course, how much amount of sleep you get before a race has not shown to affect the race performance.
What is quite important is how well you have been sleeping the days before the race. Chronic sleep deprivation can simply affect your body’s ability to recover and it can affect your concentration level during the race.
Just days before the race (i.e. one to three days), you need to load up on carbohydrates. This means that the role of the pre-race breakfast is significant for topping up the liver glycogen stores and also to maintain the blood glucose level. The pre-race breakfast must contain about 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates and must be low in fiber and fat along with moderate level of proteins.
There are many studies which proven an increase in endurance performance especially after pre-race meals having a low glycemic index. But this might seem quite variable among athletes and their personal food preferences. Also it takes into account the tolerance too. The question of how long before a race should one eat simply depends on what kind of and how much food you will eat. Here it even takes into account the individual tolerance.
Make sure to drink enough (and not excessive) amount of water the day before of the race. You have to be well-hydrated and maintain the hydration level early morning of the race. Also to top off your tank, try to consume a pint of fluid in the morning, just before the race. It’s okay to go for sports drink which contains sodium and carbohydrates as they give useful energy and ensures the fluid retention.
The intention of warming up is to prepare the body to run at racing pace. One thing to keep in mind is that the shorter the race, the more necessary this is as the physiological demand is greater. Plus one does not have the time to create or buildup to the race pace.
In addition, there are psychological benefits from doing a warm-up routine as it helps in remaining calm and relaxed. Plus it helps in building up confidence. As you accelerate at the beginning of the race, the amount of blood that gets pumped to your heart increases six to seven times, and the oxygen consumption increases to about 15 times.
To conclude, just days before the race, try to avoid doing anything new. Basically, race week is not the best time to try out new things, like new food, new shoes, new gear, etc. Just stick to the normal and result-oriented routine which works for you.