1. Taper off your running
In the week leading up to the big day, it is important to decrease the intensity of your runs. You want to feel fresh on the day of the run, so limit runs to no more than 5kms and give yourself a break in the 2-3 days leading up to the run.
2. Stay well hydrated
Two days before the big race you should be aiming to drink at least 2L of water a day. Hydration is key to a good race and good recovery, but make sure you don’t overhydrate!
3. Carbohydrate loading
Focus on quality not quantity, aim to eat low-GI carbohydrates every day. Low-GI means you will have longer lasting injury and will help you feel fuller for longer. While on the topic of food, limit your intake of fat and spicy foods, as it can cause an upset stomach while exercising.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep in the lead up. This is possibly the most important thing to ensure a good performance and making sure your perceived levels of exertion are not affected.
You shouldn’t be running the day before the race so consider taking some time out to stretch. Recent studies have shown that regular stretching resulted in around 32% reduction in injuries.
The day before:
The day before the run make sure all meals have some form of carbohydrates in them, as this will help you the next day.
Be conscious of your fluid intake (preferably water), and consider drinking up to 750mL of sports drinks. This will help to replenish electrolytes which are lost when you sweat and can lead to cramps.
The day of the run:
Don’t eat a massive breakfast on game day. Consider some fruit and yoghurt or toast with honey or jam. Try to eat two or more hours before the race so your body has a chance to digest before the race and your body can absorb all the nutrients and energy.
2. Have fun!
Crossing that finish line is a massive achievement! Congratulations on making it there, all your hard work and effort has paid off!
Large amounts of fluid will be lost during the run, aim to drink 125-150% of estimated fluids lost in the 4-6 hours after exercise. Water intake only will not guarantee re-hydration after exercise as there is loss of electrolytes lost in sweat. Consider drinking a sports drink on top of water, or foods with some sodium in them.
After the run, eat some carbohydrates and protein. The co-ingestion of these will increase the efficiency of muscle glycogen storage and will aid muscle recovery.
3. Warm down
When you cross the finish line, don’t just stop straight away. You’ve been running for at least an hour, so consider going for an extra 5-15 minutes and cool down.
4. Ice bath/pool recovery
If you are feeling brave, when you get home after the race have an ice bath. Ice baths have been known to enhance restoration of physical performance, have a positive physiological effect and among athletes it is believed to help their recovery. If you don’t feel like an ice bath (don’t worry, we understand if you don’t!) consider pool recovery as it can be used to help the recovery process and reduce muscle soreness.
If you are feeling particularly sore or tight in the days after the race, come down and see us!