Marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k, race day prep

Pre-Race Preparation: 5 Mistakes And How To Fix Them

So the big RACE is coming up! A few nerves are to be expected. Preparation and planning is the key to staying the course and getting to the start line in the best possible physical and mental state. Don't let the occasion overwhelm you, use this this guide and take control!

For those of us that don't race often, as race day draws near, the anticipation can bring a mix of overwhelming excitement and nerves. Regardless of whether you're gearing up for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or full marathon, the period leading up to the race is critical for ensuring you're mentally and physically prepared. However, it's easy to fall into common traps that can hinder your performance and enjoyment before the race even begins. Here are 5 of the most common and the way to fix them. 

1. Underestimating Non-Running Stressors

Life's demands can take a toll on your energy reserves, impacting your training and overall well-being. Failing to address these stressors can leave you feeling fatigued and unprepared for race day.

Fix: Strategic Planning and Self-Care

Recognise the influence of non-running stressors and plan accordingly. Prioritise self-care and adjust your schedule to accommodate both training and other commitments. Communicate openly with your family and friends and be willing to adapt your plans as needed. By managing stress effectively and prioritising self-care, you'll optimise your training and set yourself up for success.

2. Succumbing to Pre-Race Jitters

The buzz of race expos and pre-race excitement can sometimes fuel unnecessary anxiety, detracting from your focus and confidence.

Fix: Embrace Calmness and Confidence

Approach race day with a calm and confident mindset. Trust in your training and remind yourself of your preparation. Focus on the positive aspects of your training journey and channel excitement rather than anxiety. By embracing a confident mindset, you'll approach race day with a sense of calm determination. Often, using visualisation techniques can help you manage your expectations of run up to, gathering on the start line, the start and race itself.

3. Over-Resting During the Taper

The taper period is crucial for allowing your body to recover and peak for race day. However, excessive rest can leave you feeling sluggish and unprepared. This is as damaging as a high training load and no taper. 

Fix: Maintain Focus, Fitness and Training Cadence

Strike a balance during the taper period by reducing volume while maintaining intensity. Incorporate key workouts to keep your muscles engaged and your mind sharp. Prioritise rest and recovery but avoid excessive downtime. By staying focused and maintaining fitness levels, you'll arrive at the starting line feeling refreshed and ready to perform. Taking an extra day off is fine, but remember that the body used to a certain level of physical activity, just reduce training load by 30%.

4. Neglecting Race Weekend Preparation

Race weekend can be chaotic, with last-minute errands and logistical challenges. Failing to prepare adequately can add unnecessary stress and distractions.

Fix: Take Charge of Your Preparations

Empower yourself by planning ahead and organising your race weekend essentials. Pack your gear in advance and familiarise yourself with the race venue. Pick up your race pack in good time. Plan your nutrition pre, during and post race. Know what time the race briefing is, where your start zone is, baggage drop and toilets. Plan and execute your normal warm-up, you will have practised this many times, use it to get into your racing/event mindset.

Prioritise rest and relaxation to conserve energy for race day. By taking control of your preparations, you'll minimise stressors and approach race day with confidence and focus.

 5. Letting Race Take Control

The vibe, energy just before and at the start is palpable. Enjoy this savour it, but don’t let this interfere with your planned start.

Fix: When the Gun Goes, Find Your Space, Take Off at Your Pace

Relax as much as possible, think relax, rhythm, pace. You have practised this so often just lock it in. Try to get into your own space, don’t get distracted by anyone else. Focus on yourself, get into your rhythm and pace as soon as you can.

The start is the race’s last roll of the dice to defeat you. Stay disciplined and focussed and avoid the temptation to take off at a pace you cannot maintain.

In summary, mastering pre-race preparation is essential for optimising your performance and maximising your race day experience. By addressing common pitfalls with strategic planning, confidence-building techniques, and focused preparation, you'll set yourself up for success on race day. Embrace the journey, trust in your training, and approach race day with confidence. You're ready to conquer the challenge ahead, with calm determination!



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