Check out this great blog post about race day prep from our friends at RunCamp - written by Coach Ant (Winchester Half Marathon 2016's 2nd place male winner!)
Preparing for an event, no matter how big is a pretty scary thing.
From what to eat in the lead up, to how much water you should be drinking.
You want enough, but not so much that you are bloated and needing to pee all the time!
Then there's how much running you should do.
If you've got a marathon on Sunday, should you still be aiming to run during the week?
Or should you have a good taper and pop your feet up?
I've got a number of runners that I coach taking part in the New Forest Marathon events this Sunday as well as triathletes heading to Ironman Wales too.
All of them will be training this week, doing some lighter exercise with some short intensity bursts thrown in for good measure too.
But the intensity or speed will be kept short and only to around the intensity they are aiming to achieve on their day.
During Taper Week, we want to build confidence. Most people at the start of the week spend time telling themselves they can't or they aren't good enough. They feel tired (due to the recent training) and therefore believe their fitness has upped and left them.
To which I say RUBBISH... Fitness is cumulative and honestly takes months to leave you, so a taper week is designed to let your body rebuild and come back stronger.
But it's important to not get carried away and try to show off just how fit you are, we don't want to arrive on that start line fatigued from all those hard sessions!
What else do we need to focus on?
Well, the British thing to do is focus on the weather.
Just this morning someone was telling me the forecast for the weekend wasn't looking too great.
And guess what, that thought doesn't even enter my mind. It could be hot, could be cold, but I'll prepare for all eventualities and pull out the solution I need to on the day. Panicking about it days in advance doesn't help.
Really it doesn't...
Another thing, race anxiety raises during the week and peaks on race morning. Best thing I can recommend doing is keeping positive and speak to yourself in a positive way.
Leading on from this is what to think about whilst you are racing - and my best advice is to think about the NOW and the next 10-15 minutes. Never on the finish line.
The worst thing you can do is look at your watch at the first mile and say "if I keep this up I am on for a pb" because it hasn't happened yet!
Always think about how you are feeling right now - "could I possibly keep this pace up?" and then 10-15 minutes ahead - "how will I feel later on if I keep this up" and importantly - "what do I need to do NOW to ensure things don't go wrong later on".
So, to summarise...
Include running but only have short bursts at "race pace".
Remember the good training sessions, the tough ones you finished and felt so good at the end of.
Control the controllable - don't overly panic about things like the weather.
Think about the things you are GOING to do, not the things you might do WRONG.
Stay in the moment to stop you getting carried away with emotions, which, although are great to have, can often sabotage a good run if you let them get the better of you.
And of course... enjoy it and have a blast!
We (and I include myself) can really be guilty of focusing too heavily on the numbers and get down when they aren't what we expected them to be.
But take a step back and just think about how far you have come and what you have achieved, I'm positive you'll have been an inspiration to someone else in your world no matter how badly you might have thought it went :)