When you first decide to start working on a fitness program, it’s usually baby steps that we focus on while increasing mileage, cutting out certain foods and increasing others.
As you begin to get fitter and feel healthier, the prospect of actually lining up for a race is now seemingly becoming a reality. New goals are being reset and now the drive for an even ‘better’ you by testing your fitness level is the next real step.
Even if the thought of racing just doesn’t appeal to you there are still ways to set goals and work towards them. Timing yourself around a neighbourhood loop by tackling some never ending hills is a couple of ideas that I like to do myself.
If entering a race does tickle your fancy then sit down and work out a plan. Don’t make it too hard for yourself by not allowing enough time. 12 weeks is a good estimate and this allows downtime for illness and recovery sessions.
As race day approaches, it’s helpful to start thinking about the nuts and bolts of logistics. Lots of people means crowds and traffic delays, parking problems and anxiety. Relax by knowing before hand what you’re going to do.
Know things like where the nearest toilet is and what clothes you will wear. Big races such as the City to Surf actually collect all strewn off clothes and give to charity so it’s a great way to stay warm right up until the gun goes off.
If you’ve done the training then now’s the time to freshen up by tapering. Tapering is the decrease in training volume but still giving your body reminders with short bursts of speed to keep the muscles firing. Generally the longer the race the bigger the taper.
Set your gear out the night before and allow enough time in the morning to wake up, eat and digest breakfast and loosen up with some stretching. Butterfly’s are probably starting to make themselves known but nervousness is a good thing as it gets the adrenalin going and blood pumping through our muscles. As long as you keep the level of nervousness in check, because yes there is such thing as too much!
Make your race just that, your race. Set your pace and don’t let anyone else dictate it. You know what you’re capable of and chances are others around you will start off way too hard and leave little in the tank to get to the finish.
This is where it gets really good.. seeing the finish..a very addictable feeling and I bet before you wake up the next day there are already thoughts of your next challenge swirling around!