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Running Events – Last Minute Advice…

So this is it!

The big day is just around the corner. All those hours spent pounding the streets – those cold nights and early mornings – sacrificing those evenings out so as not to interrupt your carefully made (and colour coded) training schedule. It all boils down to this (….*inspirational music*….)

Although your training is more or less over, there are still a few things that you can still do to ensure that you get the very most from your day.

1) Don’t try anything new on the day

Please, do not be tempted to try something new on race day. Eat the same breakfast you eat before every run; run in the same shoes/socks/lucky pants that you’ve always used; stick to the tried and tested energy gels used in your training; warm up in the same way (do not be tempted to copy the elite boys and girls in doing some intensive looking strides!!)

Some people are big fans of the ‘Pasta Party’ the night before a race; I’m not one of them. Whatever you usually eat the night before a long training run – eat that (alternatively, check where the porta-loos are on course…).

Key message; Stick to what you know!!

2. Check the weather forecast

Gonna be a hot one? Don’t layer up too much, think about sun cream, sunglasses, sun visor (if it is hot – you may need to adjust your pace by 5-10 seconds per mile in the first half before you up things in the second)

Gonna be a wet one? Think about how to stay dry in the starting pen (starting any race looking like a drowned rat can be somewhat soul destroying!).

Gonna be a cold one? Wear appropriate clothing and again think about the start pen. Bin bags wont win you any fashion award, but can be surprisingly good at keeping the chill out if you don’t have a warm top you are happy to sacrifice when you set off and warm up.

Essentially, your main aim should be to keep your core temperature consistent.

3. Pack your bag the night before

Write a check list (or use the below image) of things you will need, and pack your bag the night before.

Where did you put those running trainers…..?

4. Arrange logistics

Race morning can be stressful, so make sure you know exactly how you’re getting to the race, where you’ll park, or whether you’ll use public transportation. Take a look at the event website for recommendations on how to get there and check if there are any road closures that will affect your travel plans. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the race start. You’ll need to give yourself time to use the loos, (lines can be very long – nervous times!), check your bag in, and find your race pen (if applicable). Talk to other runners who have done the race in previous years (or read reviews on websites) to find out how early they recommend getting to the start.

5. Relax

Is that sneeze the first signs of pneumonia?

Is that achy leg a stress fracture??

Has all that training been for nothing???

Almost definitely not; but…

6. Use your local Therapist

If you have a niggle that you are really not sure about, seek professional help asap, but do not stress needlessly. They will have a host of techniques to ensure your day is as pain free as possible.

Sports Massage is very popular both before and post-event; there are both physiological and psychological benefited to pre-event massage. This is not – as some people assume – just for the elite runners.

I generally see runners from 72 hours pre event and most events will have a team available on the day for soft tissue work to help prime you for the off, and help aid recovery post event!

7. Enjoy it.

This is your time. The hardest part of any endurance event is getting to the start line, not the finish line. Take a deep breath, cross that line, and off you go….its just one foot in front of the other…

8. And then…

Recover, and enjoy your moment of glory.

If it didn’t go as well as you’d hoped, remember to always be thankful that you get to compete.

And now, start planning your next event….

N.B. There are no ‘one size fits all’ style quick fixes in most injury scenarios, so these article shouldn’t be seen as such. They are merely guides to a better understanding of how our bodies work.

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