Don’t Do Too Much
Many runners enjoy travelling to a race back in their hometowns or bringing along family and friends to major races to help support them. Unfortunately, I’ve observed too many racers who end up spending way too much time and energy supporting their supporters—sightseeing, dining at exotic restaurants or staying up way too late. Come race day these athletes are simply tuckered out from all the pre-race entertaining they’ve done over the preceding days and nights.
Sage Advice: Before arriving at the race, let your supporters know what you need to have your best race, which likely includes ample time to yourself to accomplish pre-race tasks and relaxation. If this is awkward for you, then lean on a spouse or understanding family member to help run interference as best they can.
Stay Out of the Spa
Sports Massage is an excellent tool for prepping the body to race, as well as for expediting and maximizing recovery. Unfortunately, some runners choose to receive a massage too close to race day and/or from a therapist with whom they are unfamiliar, and their legs respond poorly on course.
Sage Advice: If you think you’d like to use sports massage in the days leading up to the race, then plan to do so the day or two prior to one of your final long runs or race rehearsals. Then, if all goes well, ask your massage therapist to provide you some basic instructions for selecting a therapist in the race city, as well as some notes on the exact treatment protocols to best match the successful massage you received during training.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Most veteran racers have experienced minor injuries or illness over the final days and weeks leading to their goal race. The novice tends to accompany these issues with a huge amount of anxiety, as if their entire training season is about to go up in flames. Ultimately, the additional nervous energy and panic can lead to other problems, such as a lack of sleep, poor eating habits and decreasing confidence.
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Sage Advice: The savvy racer knows the taper period is often fraught with minor “niggles,” as they are known, and use those as a sign to know their body has had enough training and is ready to race. Listen to your body, try to get more rest and any necessary treatments. It can be a good idea to chat with your coach or fellow racers about any particularly stubborn or acute pain. An outside perspective may be needed to help diagnose an actual injury and the need to consult professional medical help, as opposed to a phantom injury that may be solved with some ice and race day adrenaline.