Thank you the University of Worcester Sport and Exercise Science team for these final race day tips!
Our last article (http://worcestercityrun.com/pace-yourself-to-a-personal-best/) identified the importance of good pacing if you are to achieve your goal performance at the Worcester City 10K, and also described a number of simple things you could incorporate into your training as you prepared for the big day. That is now only a week away, so this article is to provide a few very simple tips based on sound scientific evidence that may help you put the finishing touches to your preparation and maximise the chances of you achieving your goal.
- Don’t try to cram in any ‘last minute’ training. Training is actually a destructive process that results in disruption to your physiology. It is only during rest that your body repairs and adapts to the training stress, and this takes time. Therefore in the final week you should significantly reduce your training volume, and instead focus on rest and recovery. Don’t do nothing though – some evidence suggests you get best results by maintaining (not increasing) training intensity whilst dropping the volume of training you do.
- This may be easier said than done, but ideally you need to minimise mental stress in the build up to your race. Mental fatigue is every bit as real as physical fatigue and has been shown to negatively impact endurance performance. Therefore ideally you won’t schedule busy days in the final week. Arrange your transport well in advance so that you don’t have to worry about getting to the start in plenty of time.
- Remember the basics with regards to nutrition and hydration. Don’t try anything new on the day.
- Remember the advice in the previous article with regards to pacing. It is all very easy to go in with intentions of running sensibly and evenly, but then getting caught up in the excitement of the event and blowing all your preparation in the first few minutes by starting too quickly. Always bear in mind that many people will start too quickly and that you need to try and avoid doing the same. The best way to run a fast 10k is with even splits or a second half slightly faster than the first. If you can control things in the first half you may have the happy experience of passing those who have not been as sensible in the early stages. Even if not (perhaps because everyone has read this article!), you will still maximise your chances of running to the best of your ability on the day.
- Finally, be relaxed and happy. There appears to be a relationship between emotional state and performance. Although the relationship is complex, you are much more likely to run well if you are in a positive mood than a negative one.