Anxious about your first race? If you’re new to scene, taking on your first big race like City2Surf or City2Sea can be daunting. But there is no reason to feel overwhelmed by the race day preparation – follow this step by step guide and you’ll be race ready in no time.
Before you start pounding the pavement, I recommend you hit the shops! Running has extreme impact on the body; a correctly fitted pair of running trainers will reduce the risk of injury and make a tremendous difference in comfort.
Now strap on your new shoes and go for a nice comfortable jog outside. It doesn’t matter how far you run, relax and get used to the great outdoors.
The biggest mistake people make when training for a race is not building up correctly. Follow a plan that will ensure you increase your aerobic capacity and endurance at a rate that your body can handle. I recommend running three to four times a week with a combination of interval training and progressive distance runs.
As your race will be run outdoors, try to do as many runs as possible outside, however a treadmill is a great alternative in bad weather.
Rest and recovery sessions are just as important as actually running. Active recovery may include activities such as low intensity on an elliptical machine, a yoga class or even a brisk walk.
Active recovery sessions allow your body to recover significantly faster, experience less aches and muscle soreness and perform much better on your next training run. Studies have shown that when the rate of recovery is improved, higher training volumes and intensities are possible without the detrimental effects of overtraining.
Avoid muscle tightening after your training runs by following a developmental stretching routine, focusing on the hamstrings, hips and glutes. Foam rolling is a fantastic activity for recovery days.
In the week of the race itself, tapering down is key. Wind down your training to get the body in peak physical condition with light jogging only, stretching and releasing muscle tightness with recovery sessions. Fuelling your body with the right nutrients is also crucial.
The night before your race, prepare how you will get to the race, what you will eat and drink in the morning and lay out your race bib and running clothes. This will give you every opportunity to clear your mind and get a restful sleep.
On race day, an extremely common mistake people make is going out too fast. The body will perform significantly better and you will enjoy it much more if you warm up steadily. Perform a sequence of dynamic stretches before your run and starting the race nice and steady. Remember to take in the atmosphere and enjoy the occasion – especially the feeling of crossing the finish line!