Whether you’re running a mile or a marathon, the toughest time leading up to any race is always the final week. As the focus switches from training to racing it’s easy to get twitchy. That’s when you’re most likely to start making bad decisions that’ll hinder your performance. It’s no different for an elite athlete which is why expert coaches have spent years finding clever ways to control your nerves, making sure you’re in peak mental and physical condition when you hit the start line.
British Athletics coach, James Brewer, takes us through his best race-day running tips, revealing the advice he gives his athletes in the build up to the big run.
The last week before race day you’re not going to make any fitness gains. This week is all about making you feel good; fresh; loose and happy. Make sure you do some form of light running / session every other day to keep your neural pathways active but other than that enjoy the lighter training load.
2. Mentally rehearse
Set aside a specific time to run through the race in your mind, how you will feel, how you want to run it, what to do in various ‘what if…’ scenarios. This may make you a little nervous but by giving this your focus for a short time you can address your worries and then put them to one side and move on with more important things.
3. Go for a shake out
The morning of the race get your body primed for racing by doing a 10 minute jog followed by some light stretches. This will help remove any lethargy from an easier training week. Then when you come to warm up for real you won’t be questioning why you’re feeling a bit tired.
4. Get comfortable in the stadium
Go for a stroll around the stadium before the meet starts. Work out where the warm up area is, how long you’ll need to get around, and where the nearest toilets are. When it comes to the race there’s no time for getting lost.
5. Break it down
The mile is a long way so break it down into smaller chunks and give yourself a goal for each section. e.g. First lap – relax my shoulder, Second lap – maintain an even pace etc. Focus on what you want to do in each section rather than the race as whole.
For more info on how to #findyourfast visit the Nike Milers.