Build up to race week…

Race week has arrived!
This Sunday I face the St Albans half, the event I’ve been working towards for the last 11 and a half weeks. I’ve dedicated and committed a lot of time and emotion into the last few months so as I countdown the final few days my preparation will be quite important. Here’s a few things I will be doing this week to ensure I am race day ready.

  1. Nutrition

This week I aim to eat as much whole food and minimal processed as possible. Lots of chicken, nuts, vegetables, fruit, rice, sweet potato and oats! A good balance between protein, carbs and fats. The first few days of race week I often lower my carb intake to combat the tapering process. As training drops down it’s normal to feel heavier and lethargic. Lowering my carb intake helps this and makes me feel like my hard work isn’t all being undone! From Thursday/Friday I slowly up my carb intake, not by eating loads of bagels, bread and chips, but slightly increasing my carb portions in my usual meals. Saturday night will involve a lot of chicken and sweet potato wedges (one of my favourite dinners!)

  1. Hydration

Hydration is key! The day before the race I will aim to glue a bottle of water to my hand and keep my water levels topped up. Especially if it’s warm on Sunday, I need to be as hydrated as possible. There are also 9 water stops along the half marathon route so I know there’s plenty of options for me throughout the 13 miles to keep hydrated.

  1. Sleep

Feeling rested is so crucial and something I often overlook during race week. I aim for anywhere between 6 – 8 hours of sleep which usually does me just fine in my usual day to day routine. I’m going to make a conscious effort every night this week to try and go to bed at least 15 or 30 minutes earlier than I normally would. An early night will also be happening for me on Saturday! I often am restless the night before a race, so going to bed super early should help me out here too.

  1. Belief

Once I received my race bib at the weekend I started to doubt myself and panic started to set in. The course is undulating and I began to get nervous around what my target time for the race should be. This week I am going to put all this self-doubt to the back of mind and put faith in the training I have carried out. I’ve worked really hard up until this event and decided to put no time pressure on myself for Sunday. I know I can cover the distance and I need to remember that come Sunday. Whatever time I finish, I have completed this journey with a new outlook on running and even hit a few PB’s along the way.

  1. Pre-Race Day Prep

The day before the race I plan to do not a lot! Rest is a vital element of my preparation and I will try to keep off my feet as much as possible. I have booked in to a yoga class for a nice bit of stretching before and to also relax my nerves. In the afternoon I plan to get all of my kit laid out and ready for the morning so that there is no rush on the morning of the race. I will enjoy spending a few hours on the sofa in front of the TV or if it’s a nice day sitting out in the garden with a book.

  1. Training

No crazy miles planned this week. Tuesday will be a 4/5 mile run whilst trying to push the pace slightly, with my last run being on Thursday and probably around 3 miles. Some people often go out for a short 20 minute shake off the day prior to an event, however, before a half I like to have 2 full days off of running if I can. Tuesday and Saturday will be my usual yoga and extra stretch out class and I will be at the gym twice during the week for light strength and core work. Nothing too intense as I do not want any achy muscles come Sunday.
Amongst all the preparation and nerves I’m actually quite excited writing this 🙂 My last half marathon seems like a long time ago now. I read the race booklet over the weekend so am all clued up on the course, rules and arrival info.
I also went to the Birmingham Diamond League yesterday to see some brilliant athletic performances, including witnessing Mo Farah break the 34 year old British record for the 3,000m. An inspiring day and wonderful one to have watched. Shame I’m not as fast as Mo! 😉