The paddock is full. Everyone around you is deep in their heads, planning and postulating and praying to the race gods that their day goes as they hope. You? Well, you’re standing there, maybe giving your legs a final stretch, adjusting your SPIbelt to perfection. But you’re not talking with the deities; with these few simple tips, you’ve prepared to the nth degree ready to crush your race, so you don’t have to.
Rise To Shine
If you’re like me (and many other runners), the night before a race isn’t a time where sleep comes easily. Tossing and turning do not for a smooth race make, but if few z’s happen throughout the evening, it’s still wise to get up early. This practice provides an opportunity to meditate, panic, stretch, eat, pet the cat/dog, use the restroom – a vital step. In the weeks previous to the race, try getting up at different intervals during long run days (30min, 60min, 90+) and see what’s most advantageous.
For any athlete who eats before exercise, know that the body utilizes blood and energy to digest. Depending on the meal, allowing 30 minutes to two hours is an ideal amount of time to let the body intake the nutrients it needs and re-divert blood flow back to the legs and heart.
Flat Lay For Life
It’s not just for the ‘gram; planning out all of the gear needed for race day is an essential step to being ready. Not only does this step showcase your epic run gear on social media, but it’s also a checklist. Each item – from sock to SPIbelt – is laid out, arranged, and if anything is missing (hopefully not though!) it can be discovered and adjusted before the starting line.
Mantras And Breathing
Japanese author Haruki Murakami (Murakami Haruki) begins his book “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” with the mantra “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” While that might not be the right mindset for a particular race, it can be useful to have a mantra during a run. There are plenty of places around the internet to find a phrase to repeat, but there’s always the standard of “I eat hills for breakfast” or a personal favorite “Breathe it in. Run it out.”
Speaking of breathing – it’s the most important thing! During physical activity, breath is vital. It’s also imperative to practice some mindful breathing before and after racing. There are also some fantastic apps – Calm and Headspace being two of them – that help practice mindful breathing. They can help bring a little mental clarity if that’s something you seek.
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So now it’s race day. Your brain is ready, your body is fueled up, and your SPIbelt is packed full of your racing essentials. It’s time to crush it; just remember your training and your mantras and you’ll be good to go.