Preparation starts two to three days before the race.
• You should be eating roughly the same amount of food (number of calories) for the last three days before your race, as if you were still in heavy training. The goal is to ensure your glycogen (immediate energy supply) is topped up ready for the race.
• To try and help build up your glycogen stores, ensure your diet is high in carbohydrates. This will require a reduction in your protein and fat intake.
• It is best to try and consume natural complex carbohydrates. These are readily available in foods such as sweet potato, potato, rice, quinoa, beans, pasta and fruit.
• Especially on the day before the race, ensure you keep your diet simple and eat foods you know are gentle on your stomach.
• Do not be surprised if you gain a couple of pounds as you fill your glycogen reserve. This is normal and important if you want to run your best race.
• Eat a substantial lunch and a smaller early dinner on the day before the race.
• On race day you should eat your usual and practiced breakfast and make sure you leave time for it to digest before the race starts.
Hydration and caffeine
• The days before a race is not the best time to start experimenting with caffeine. Stick to your normal routine.
• Stay well hydrated in the days leading up to the race and bear in mind there is no advantage and potentially harm from drinking too much.
• A bad sleep the night before a race will not make or break race day. Even if you are struggling to sleep, you should try to remain calm and relaxed.
• Good sleep hygiene leading up to the race is important. Consider a sharp cut-off from screens and social media for at least 2 hours before going to bed.
Preparation the night before the race
• Be sure you know where to go, public transport schedule, time to be in your coral and where to meet teammates for the race.
• Write your name and emergency contact details on the back of your run bib. If you have any medical conditions or take medications write them down too.
• Lay out your clothing, gels, gear and attach bib to your race t-shirt / singlet.
• Prepare your drop bag.
• Check the weather and have appropriate layers both to stay warm before the race and to run in.
• Arrive 45 – 50 minutes early for the race start.
• For shorter races, do your usual warm-up as if you are preparing for an interval workout.
• For longer races, a slow jog for a few minutes followed by a few dynamic stretches is sufficient.
• If there is enough space then do a few strides 10 minutes before entering the coral.
• Try and make sure you arrive in your coral with at least 5 to 10 minutes to spare. Use this time to chat to your fellow runners and soak up the excitement of the upcoming race.
Good luck! Have a great race and enjoy the experience.