- Wow, it’s finally here and now it’s time to keep focused. Try to remember three runs or sessions that went well in training that you have banked or the cause and reason for which you are racing and remember; you are fit and ready for this…
- Wake early, shower, and take a few moments to breathe deeply, relax and stay calm.
- Eat the race day breakfast you have practiced in training before you long runs/key sessions 2-3 hours before race start. Then graze & sip water and sports drinks up in the 60-90 mins before you set off
- Keep your kit simple and wear the shoes you ran your last few long runs or key speed sessions in and make sure any clothing has been worn and washed a few times before you race in it. Don’t try anything new on race day and do be comfortable!
- Take a carbohydrate-based snack (for example a banana or energy bar) and sports drink to snack on between breakfast and race start and be prepared with fuel in case you’re delayed starting. Have a start time in mind and still countdown to this moment to keep things real and focused.
- Look around you and focus in on the target you have set. Remember your pace, split times and make sure your GPS has a signal and the charge is good…. Have your planned km or mile written on your hand, arm in permanent ink or on a wristband to be sure you are ready.
- Sip your final mouthfuls of water/sports drink but don’t take on more than normal, you don’t need it.
- Consider an easy 10-15 minute jog to get the legs turning over. Remember, you don’t need to do a high intensity warm up; aasy running, a few light drills and perhaps one or two stride outs over 50-60 metres and you are more than ready.
Your Race Strategy
- Just before you start your watch, count to 10 and breath…. give yourself that final reminder you are ready, tell yourself you feel good and smile. The power of positive thinking and smiling does wonders for energy and relaxation.
- As you start, ease into your race day pace (the one you practiced in training that feels familiar) in the first 2 km. Be careful to not sprint off, yes you feel great as the adrenaline surges through your body, but just over six miles is a long way. Be patient!
- After building into that familiar pace in the first 2km it’s time to become consistent and strong. Even effort is key and hopefully even pace also unless you’ve chosen a hilly route for your virtual or you’re running into a head wind. Try to focus on the km or mile you are in, get this right and then move onto the next one. Imagine there are runners in front of you as you create your own race and moment. Draw on those three runs or sessions that went well and as tiredness starts to talk to you remind yourself how fit you are and how well those runs went.
- Sip on sports drink and/or water occasionally in the race. You don’t need too much and be sure to not over drink on the way around.
- Promise to get to halfway working hard but in control. Get this right and it’s time to then build and push for home in the second half of your race.
- The last 2-3km is all about you, the mind and being strong. Yes, it might be hurting but you’ve run intervals this long in training or completed runs where you’ve been tired before at this point. You can do it…..perhaps even dedicate each of the final few km’s to somebody special in your life. You won’t let them down! Above all else, remember to smile, take in the atmosphere and moment and enjoy yourself.
- Press your watch as you reach 10k and celebrate as you finish. Make sure that finishing photo or selfie looks great!
Good luck everybody….
By Nick Anderson, Official Coach for Brighton Marathon Weekend