Race Week Prep:
Tapering: Tapering is the idea of scaling back miles, a week or two before the race to be in top shape before entering a race. Usually, two weeks before the race one should do speed workouts and distance workouts at 75% effort. The week before the race one should not run faster than 50% effort with speed workouts and no long runs. If you haven't already started tapering it's okay, during the next week do not run longer than 5 miles and do not run a day or 2 before the race. Enjoy resting your body. You can only hurt your race efforts this week by trying to squeeze in extra miles.
Hydration and nutrition:
Water, water, and more water! Hydration can make or break a race. Leading up to race day try to avoid excess coffee, alcohol, and avoid sodas all together. Carbohydrate loading or "carbo-loading" is an important factor to consider in the 3 days leading up to the race. However, "carbo-loading" and "carbo-gorging" are very different things. Generally, 60-70% of your normal diet needs to be carbohydrate rich. For most Americans, this does not constitute a change. Finally, avoid changing your diet just for the race or eating foods know to cause gastric disturbance. The last thing one needs is a 2 mile detour to the nearest commode.
Whatever your level, whatever your goal, run your race not the person's to the left or the right. Sleep well the night before, laugh with friends and family. Enjoy the run and the experience! When that last mile comes and it is all uphill and seems impossible remember running guru David Horton's advice, "It never always gets worse!"
Mark Henry, DPT, PT, ATC
Lynchburg Physical Therapy