Now that all the hard work training has been done, rest well the night before the race. No alcohol and an early night are the way forward.
This begins in the days leading up to the race. Make sure you are well hydrated by taking regular sips of fluid throughout the day, rather than guzzling down big drinks all in one. On race day, again a full drink about 2 hours pre race should be followed by only small sips – too much fluid sloshing around in the stomach can cause a stitch. Be sure to have some electrolyte salts in your drinks too, particularly afterwards as part of your recovery.
Eat well in the days before, and a good carbohydrate meal the night before the race. Last meal should be at least 2 1/2 – 3 hours before the race, bananas, energy bars and drinks are all good sources of energy and can give you an extra boost in the last hour or so leading up to the event.
This is extremely important t prevent injury and enhance performance, and should not be forgotten even on a hot day! Very important to do some aerobic activity for at least 10 minutes or so, and then some static stretching and more dynamic stretching movements to take the soft tissues and joints through the ranges of motion that will be used in your event. In running lunges, high knees, heel flicks and fast feet are all good drills.
Equally important – helps you recover more quickly and prevent injury. Some gentle aerobic activity to bring the heart rate down followed by stretches, in running we mainly think about the legs but do not forget also your lower back, upper body and arms – running is a ‘whole body’ sport!
The worst thing is to burn out in a race, try to avoid a blistering first mile which will usually be followed by a disappointingly sluggish remainder of the race. Set yourself a realistic time for the race distance (gauge this from your training runs) and split the time into miles or km as appropriate, that way you know roughly what pace to go and if you are feeling good you will have enough for a super fast kick at the end!