How To Prepare For Your First Race Of The Year

Johnson also recommends a shorter race-pace workout about five to six days beforehand. For a 5K, you might do a similar workout to above, but with only 3,000m worth of work. Or, for a half-marathon, you might do a longer effort at half-marathon pace a week or two before, and then just 3 miles at your goal pace the week of your race.

But: “Don’t crash train,” says McMillan, meaning don’t try to cram everything in at the last minute. Especially in these early-season races, it’s important to remember you aren’t necessarily in PR shape yet and you won’t get in PR shape by cramming in everything at the last minute. Instead, rest, recover and cut back on your volume.

“We normally do what we normally do, we just do less of it,” says Rubio. He typically has his athletes do their last hard effort four days before the race and then cut down training volume by 15–20 percent the last few days, while still including shorter fast efforts.

And make sure you’re getting as much sleep as you can, says Johnson. “Just an extra 15 minutes a night, over the course of five to seven days prior to the race, will help.”

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