Upcoming Sunday I am running the Rotterdam 1/4th marathon alongside my dad and thousands of other runners. The Rotterdam 1/4th marathon has always been one of my favorite events to run. The vibe is amazing and there are SO MANY people that cheer you on, another thing that plays a big role as to why it is one of my favorite events is the fact that two years ago this was my first ‘big’ run. I will never forget that overpowering sense of accomplishment once I crossed that finish line and even though the time I ran was nothing to write home about, that 10k was about so much more than simply setting a time.
Two years ago I proved to myself that I could do it. It took me WAY too long to run that 10k, but I proved to myself that if I put my mind to it and trained properly I could run any distance I wanted. Look at me now, two years down the road, and I have a lot more distance in those legs of mine. The past two years I ran some more 10k’s, some 10 miles, and a half marathon. I’m a way more experienced runner than I was two years ago and through it all I learned some valuable things about how to prep for race day. Since this is the week before race day for me, I thought I’d share my do’s and don’ts the week before race day.
The week before
Do not train heavy the week before a race. It might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people make this mistake. And I too made that same mistake before. It is so tempting to do that leg day session or to run a 10k just to prove to yourself that you can do it. Don’t. You’ll tire your muscles and they won’t have enough time to recover. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train at all. I usually go on one or two short distance runs. If you’re running a 10k, run a 3k or 5k during the week. Just don’t speed, aim for a comfortable pace that doesn’t get you winded.
Don’t eat any differently than you normally do and don’t eat anything heavy two hours before your race. It might be so tempting to make a special breakfast with more carbs or more proteins to fuel your body, but this won’t work in your favor. It can have the complete opposite effect. Your body might not be used to this kind of nutrition and react badly to it. Believe me, you do not want the be the runner at the start with a stomach that’s cramping or feel your food coming up during your run. If it is oatmeal you have every morning, have oatmeal the morning of your race.
If you’re nervous about running a new route: don’t sweat it. The organization usually make the route known so you can cover the route beforehand. You can go check it out to get familiar with it, or, if you know the area, you can just check it online to see where you’ll be at what distance. I know from experience that it can be a bit daunting when you’re running and you have no idea how far into the route you are. Checking the route beforehand can solve that problem for you. There usually are markers alongside the route as well. Another option is a running watch, this is the more expensive option, but I promise you once you get one you’ll never want to go back again!
Last but not least, stop stressing. If you’ve trained well try to relax a bit. A week before the race there’s nothing you can really do to prepare better. The time to train for a distance is not the week before race-day. Try to enjoy the process. The events itself, you’ll see for yourself, are filled with positivity from the community! You’ll find tons of strangers cheering you on, feeding you, and giving you water. It is so much fun and you’ll only impact your own experience if you don’t try to take it in and enjoy it.