As many of us are now back to in-person racing, we are all trying to remember all the logistics of how to prepare for the big day. We talked about the taper period, but what are the last minute “to-dos” that you should focus on during the last week before your race? This is usually when many of us are feeling anxious as it gets closer and we aren’t running as many miles. Here are some ideas to keep you feeling positive, focused, and productive.
Determine your race goal
A week before your race is a good time to really decide on your goal. You will know how your training went and how the weather will be on that day. Consider having an A goal, B goal, and C goal. When setting your goals try to be realistic. Your B goal may be what you trained for, but your A goal may be what you will shoot for if all the stars align and you run even better than expected.
Develop a plan
Once you know your goal, think about how you will execute your race. For longer distances it can be really beneficial to stat conservatively so you have enough energy to finish strong. Reflect on your training runs-do you tend to start slow and finish fast? Or have you mastered “race pace” and feel that you can settle into that pace pretty quickly? This information can help you plan for how you will pace on race day.
Consider making or buying a pace band if you think that will help you. However, try not to focus on it too much. This website allows you to select your specific race (if it is listed) and then create a customized pacing plan. It accounts for hills on the course and allows you to decide if you want to have even splits, negative splits etc. These ship pretty quickly but to be safe you may want to order more than a week before you will need it.
Be aware of the race day forecast
Try not to become too fixated on the forecast, but keep an eye on it so you can be prepared with how to dress and how you should pace. Remember that it can change quickly. But about a week out it should be able to give you a decent prediction for what to expect the day of your race.
Decide what shoes you will wear
You may already know which shoes you will wear, especially if you only run in one pair of shoes! But if you have a few different ones to choose between, try to pick which ones you will wear a week before your race. This way you can wear them 1-2 times that week and have them ready to go for race day. If it’s going to rain at all that week, don’t run in the shoes you plan to race in.
Make sure your race day outfit is clean
Many of us have a favorite running outfit that we like to wear all the time. If you plan to race in an outfit you wear regularly, make sure you wash it early in the week and don’t wear it again so it’s ready to go. It may be helpful to do a “dress rehearsal” the weekend before your race to practice wearing all the clothes and gear that you plan to wear on race day.
Visualize the course
If you have never run the race course before, look at some pictures online so you know what it will look like, at least around the start and finish line. You can usually find pictures from past years or you can even just look at google maps. Once you have some images in your mind of where you will be racing, you can start to visualize race day.
Picture yourself lining up at the start feeling excited and confident. You start your watch and ease into a comfortable pace. When the race gets challenging, you dig deep and remember your motivation. You picture yourself pushing through that last mile and giving it everything you have to cross the finish line and achieve your goal. Imagine that feeling of accomplishment from finishing your race strong.
There are many things that you can do the week before your race, but try not to overdo it! Focus on a few important tasks and otherwise give yourself some time to rest and mentally prepare for your race.
What do you do the week before a race?
How long before a race do you set your race goals?
How do you mentally prepare for a race?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs , and Laura Norris Running to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.