Preparing for race day can be a minefield with huge amount of resources out there regarding what to do in the week before and after the race. That is without your various experienced running friends giving you their own personal tips tricks and recommendations.
The aim of this article is to provide some simple but effective advice on how to get the most from your race day and how to recover quickly afterwards.
Tapering is when we reduce our training down to allow our body to recover fully in readiness for the big race. It is important to understand that it is a very individual process. Some people benefit from a two week taper and others a week or even less. It is also relative to how long and how hard you have been training for.
- Tapering week 1 = 50% volume @ normal training intensity
- Tapering week 2 – 25% volume @ low intensity
- Get even more sleep than normal if you can
- Max of 8-10 miles long run in last 2 weeks
- Spend a bit more time on stretching and mobility work and make sure you get that essential pre event massage
Carbo Loading is the process of increasing your carbohydrate intake to maximise the bodies ability to store Glycogen which is the muscles main source of energy.
It is however typically poorly done. Common mistakes include:
- Only beginning the day before
- Eating the wrong types of foods
- Begin 2-3 days before the event
- Increase your carbohydrate intake with breakfast lunch and dinner
- During the period reduce your intake of protein
- Good foods include: Tortillas, rice, pancakes, bagels, baked potatoes and whole wheat pasta.
We all know that drinking enough water is important but what does that mean for you as a runner?
- 1-2 litres of water per day
- 500ml 2 hours before long runs
- 150ml immediately before
- During the race drink to thirst but over drinking is as bad if not worse as under drinking
For some of you this one race will be enough for a while and for others you will be going on to either a spring marathon or other challenges. In either case it is advisable to help your body recover well after the race.
There are many methods that elite athletes will use to help them recover but below we have picked out three that have the most research behind them but are also practical for us normal human beings.
Cold Water Immersion
Cold water immersion is not the most pleasant method we have available but it probably has the strongest backing in the research and anything is better than ice baths.
It is complete immersion in a bath of water 10-15 degrees (cold tap only). Typically for between 10-20 minutes. However even a cold shower is better than the old view of getting home and running a nice hot soapy bath!
The cheapest and most pleasant of all of the methods around is active recovery. This is simply the use of exercise to help remove waste products and decrease stiffness.
A simple brisk walk or cycle for 20-30 minutes on the two days immediately following the event can work wonders.
Sport Massage often gets a bad press for being very deep and very painful. The reality is that Sport Massage refers to a deep form of massage that is aimed to have a direct physical effect of the muscles and fascia of the body, not just relaxation. This does not have to be significantly painful and can certainly be modified post event, if you have a great deal of muscle soreness.
It is often reported to promote waste product clearance, decrease muscle spasm and tightens and reduce that very muscle soreness that you are likely to experience.
We hope that this post has been useful and if you are struggling with any aspect of your training and in particular any niggles, aches and pains then please feel free to get in touch and we will help if we can.
Or call 01483 600 351