There’s no doubt that your preparation for Chevron City to Surf for Activ has probably experienced a few ups and downs, with the final countdown to race day – it’s time to lace up and prepare as best you can!
As we enter the final week this is the perfect opportunity to look back at how your training and preparation has gone and to allow your body to reap the rewards of your training efforts. To help guide you through your final preparations we’ve put together some of our top tips for getting you through the taper phase and to make sure you get to the start line in the best shape possible.
Nerves are likely to be building, which is perfectly normal, but one of the best ways to calm your nerves is to glance through your training record and pick out some of your favourite runs where you finished strong. These positive reminders will help to give you a nice confidence boost at a time when you’re likely to be questioning if you’ve done the right (or enough) training.
At the same time, reviewing your training notes can help you to understand where you are in terms of fitness level and the result you can expect on race day. By having this understanding you can reassess your target finish time and plan your race strategy as best as possible.
Our biggest tip is to try not to taper too much. For every runner who doesn’t cut back enough before a race, there are others who rest too much and lose the edge that had them feeling great during training. Your body has become conditioned to training either most days or a couple of days a week – if you suddenly stop exercising altogether then it is possible that you could be feeling sluggish rather than rested come race day.
Regardless of the race distance you’re taking part in we recommend reducing your weekly training volume by 50%, but at the minimum to still include hopefully two 20-30 minute easy jogs at conversational pace. If your training program has included an element of speed training then don’t let that drop out of your schedule completely either, but think about reducing the volume of the session.
In terms of training the day before, you obviously don’t want to do too much which could compromise your race but there is no need to fear a short 15-25min jog and stretch. This will help you to loosen up, but also to calm the nerves a little.
You always need to respect sleep and rest as a runner if you want to improve and give yourself your best chance of performing well. Try to get a few early nights in race week and definitely protect that immune system in the final weeks, as late nights and picking up a cold will hinder your race day experience. Try to take the weight off your feet as much as you can the day before the race – this isn’t the best day to be going for a long walk around King’s Park.
Fuelling correctly is also a huge part of the taper phase, but we’ve left that to Advanced Sports Dietitian, David Bryant to take you through the nutrition do’s and don’ts in the lead up to race day. Read Dave’s tips HERE.
Above all, the most important aspect to remember in the taper phase is that we are all different and an approach which works for your training buddies might not be the best approach for you. It’s great to share your own strategy and listen to how others are planning their last week, but try not to be swayed and stick to what you’ve decided. Build a taper plan and if you’re confident in your approach then try to stick to your plan as best as possible.
We’re wishing you the best of luck with your final week of preparations and look forward to seeing you at the start line on Sunday 25 August.
For tips on recovery following Sunday’s Chevron City to Surf for Activ, read about our article on Roll and Release for recovery.