Heading into a race requires all sorts of physical and psychological preparations. Whilst I don’t do anything drastically different, I do whatever is needed to get me to the start line feeling fresh. Ultimately, this may vary from race to race, depending on how I feel building up to it.
The physical build up to every race is different. Whilst I may not plan for it to be, the week before a race is all governed by how my body feels. Some race weeks I may feel on top form from the start of the week and be able to continue training as normal till just a few days before my race. However, other times, my legs feel tired and heavy, therefore training has to be reduced and adapted earlier in the week. It all just depends on how I feel at the time. If this is the case, sessions may be reduced and training becomes focused on fine tuning and just giving the legs enough time to get working, but without adding extra fatigue to them.
Listening to my body as a race approaches, has not always been an easy thing for me to do. It is something I have struggled with for a long time. I used to be unable to deviate from the plan. If I was set a full session, but felt very tired and heavy going into it in race week, I was unable to adapt the session set. I felt I had to do what was set or I would be failing before I had even got to the start line of the race. However, this couldn’t be more wrong. I now recognise the need to listen to my body, especially during race week, and adapt my training as necessary.
In the week leading up to a race, my coach always reminds me that nothing can be gained from doing more, only lost. Therefore there is no point overdoing it as I will only regret it come race day. It’s so important to be able to tell myself that doing less will only benefit me and make me feel fresher for the race. If this means slightly reducing the session I have set, I’ll do it, because this is not a sign of failure, but a sign of strength and rationality. It shows that I am able to think sensibly and do what is best for my body before I push it to its limit during a race.
The mental preparation for race week tends to be similar for most races. I try not to over think the race itself before the day, and stay relaxed throughout the week. The race ahead is always in the back of my mind throughout the week, but in a good way. It is there so I don’t overdo it, or have a wild late night that week (not that this ever happens!). The race ahead is always in your mind, but in a positive way. I try not to get nervous about a race until the day itself, this way I have saved the nerves for when it matters and haven’t wasted energy unnecessarily worrying.
The physical preparations to me, work hand in hand with the psychological. I know the particular training I do in the few days just before a race, and this is what gets me in the zone. I know what I need to do to have my body feeling fresh, and in turn, this gets my mind in the right, calm, but nervously excited place.
Another key thing I do is sleep! I don’t want to be over tired when it comes to race day, therefore I make sure I am eating well to fuel myself, and sleeping plenty. Therefore, there are no excuses on the start line.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!