Wow! Can you believe we’ve reached the 10 day countdown to race day already? I know I could use a few more weeks/months of preparation to feel truly ready for face Whistler’s hills. But since there is no chance of that, I’m focusing on what, if anything, I can do at this late stage to be physically prepared on race day and perform at my best. We all know that tapering the week before the race is the recommended way to have ‘fresh’ rested legs on the big day, but there is evidence to suggest that there are other equally important factors which can effect race day performance. I recently read a great article covering the things us runners often overlook during our final week of training. It pointed out just how vital it is to consider all the factors which lead to a good race. This is what I learned from it…
Fitness and Conditioning: These are 2 separate factors which complement each other nicely for optimum performance. Your state of fitness is the ‘performance capacity’ of your body’s engine, ie. how much force your body can generate and how much oxygen can be delivered to your muscles. Conditioning is the state that your body and mind are in on race day, it’s effected by many variables and can change daily. Two examples of how these 2 factors are entwined are: 1. You train perfectly for 6 months and have a good level of fitness, but are sleep-deprived, stressed and make poor diet choices the week before the race. In this case you are fit but in bad condition. 2. You barely lift a finger for 6 months, then have a week of rest and relaxation at a spa. In this case you would be lacking fitness, but in great condition.
Paying attention to both components is of course the best way to be prepared, and at this late stage there is little you can do to improve your fitness, so it’s time to focus on conditioning. That means plenty of early nights to give the body time to repair, being organised for race day to avoid stress, and sticking to a diet that works for you. In my own experience, I’ve found that playing it safe with my food choices in the final few days is good idea. I also find that I prefer to do something gentle like yoga or swim the day before the race and take a rest day from running, so that my legs feel rested.
I think the bottom line is that being in good condition for race day should involve doing whatever works for you. But the goal is to feel great and ready to rumble! Chill out, relax and enjoy the last 10 days everyone!