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Aug 18, 2018 - 12:27 AM  

Running Tips - Raceday and the days before

Running Tips - Raceday and preparation

Contents Basics Intervals Injury Other Factors RaceDay Internet Index Forums

Strategy Last Days Day Before Night Before Morning Warm-up Start

This handout will deal with details of Race strategy and also the final few days of preparation. It should be remembered that you should be in a taper at this stage and not be doing any hard work-outs as they may leave you flat for the race. The amount of taper should be about 1 day for every 2 kilometres of race distance. During this period you should reduce your total distance run during the week and reduce the number of hard sessions. It is important to keep the leg speed high so light intervals may be useful during the taper.

Race Strategy

If you are racing against the clock rather than other people then the best race plan is to run at a constant effort for the whole race. Only when you are racing against others should you consider tactical effort adjustment in order to psychologically affect your opponent. In most cases the best strategy is to just 'run your own race'. Even effort racing means slowing down up hills and speeding up going down them not simply running at the same pace all of the time.

Although the best strategy sounds simple there are a couple of traps that you should be on the look out for. The first and most common is to start out at too fast a pace. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the event an start out beyond your ability. It is almost impossible to start too slow so take it easy for the first mile/kilometre. The next most common trap is racing too fast too early and developing a lactate build up early on in the race. This is quite bad as you start hurting and your breathing becomes ragged and you must slow down. The best(forced) approach is too slow down. Try not to drop off by 30-45 secs per kilometre rather try to go only about 5-10 seconds per kilometre slower. The lactate should still start being buffered as long as you are below your anaerobic threshold.

As a final modification the best strategy should look like: constant race pace till about 60%-70% of race distance then if you feel you can run faster gradually speed up for the final few miles/kilometres.

The last couple of days

The main thing here is to get plenty of rest, make sure your muscles are fully charged with glycogen, and you are fully hydrated. So get plenty of sleep, eat a high carbohydrate (not fat) diet and drink plenty of fluids.

The day before

I prefer having a light run. Try and do it in the morning, make it only about 15-20 minutes and make it easy with a few light accelerations included.

The night before

Pack your bag and include the following: running shoes, socks, shirt, shorts, water bottle, bandages and vaseline, money, race number and safety pins. Try and eat a light meal at night and drink plenty of water.

Race morning

After you wake up start drinking to keep hydrated, drink your last water about 20 minutes before the start of the race. Don't eat, it won't get processed in time to do any good. Tie double knots in your shoelaces to avoid them coming undone during the race. Start the warm-up about 30 minutes before the race.


The warm-up should look a bit like this. Walk, Jog, Stretch, Accelerations, Walk, Relax . The relax part should be about 5-10 mins just before race start.


As you line up for the race shift gears and relax, joke, un tense your muscles. When the gun goes off start slowly. After the race cool down, stretch and drink plenty of water

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