Race day morning is a culmination of weeks or months (or maybe years) of training and preparation. How you start your race day can significantly impact your performance. Proper race morning preparation involves more than just setting your alarm and lacing up your shoes. It can be seen as a holistic approach that includes physical, mental, and logistical aspects.
The following are some race morning rituals that may be of some support as you head into race week and start to think about the morning of the big day.
Sleep and Rest – Fill your sleep bank!
Prioritize sleep 2- 3 days before your race. Go to bed a bit earlier and get some extra sleep, turn off the devices, and create a calming bedtime routine for yourself.
It’s extremely common not to have a good night’s sleep the night before a race. There is no point lying awake the night before the race agonizing over the reasons why you can’t sleep if you’ve gone to bed at 7.30pm. Set more than one alarm and trust you will wake up because you will – relax. Hopefully the days prior you would have had some decent sleeps so keep that in mind.
Fuel your body pre race: Nutrition and hydration
What time to get up is important. Two hours before you start your race is plenty of time for your body to absorb and digest your choice of food you have practiced throughout your training. DO NOT think it’s a good idea to eat something you haven’t trained with. A green smoothie may be healthy and give you energy, but it may also give you a whole lot more than you would like!! So opt for those familiar foods to avoid any surprises! Just as important is continuing to hydrate as you would have been over the previous days. Don’t try and drink a litre of water in one setting, just take regular sips to avoid to much time lining up at the porta loos. The golden rule: Eat what you have practiced with during training.
Have your transport organised:
Make sure you have your tickets for ferries, and buses organised pre race. Arrive at the start early to avoid unnecessary stress. And find that portaloo line!!!
Mental Preparation – Warm up and find that calm mental space.
Getting to the start line in plenty of time gives you more time to get fully relaxed, and warm up the muscles with some stretching or whatever you normally do. This also helps get rid of any anxious energy. Allow yourself this time to get centred, using some of those visualizations skills we talked about in our previous article. This can help alleviate some pre nervous jitters and allow you to focus on the race ahead. Be ‘anti-social’ if you need to – do what is going to work for you to get fully prepared before the gun goes off.
By prioritizing sleep, fuelling your body with familiar foods, warming up, staying mentally composed, sticking with your race processes and arriving early you can set yourself up for a successful race. Remember, every person has a different routine which may vary slightly so find what works best for YOU through trial and error. Keep it simple. With the right preparation, you’ll be well equipped to tackle the challenges on race day and cross that finish line with a sense of accomplishment and pride.