"Did I do enough training?"
"Am I forgetting anything for race day?"
"Have I missed anything in my training?"
The week before a big race can be a bit stressful.
Here is a short guide on how to approach the big event.
Starting with the week of
There is nothing you can realistically do the week of a race to improve upon your fitness, but there are many ways you can jeopardize your performance. Nothing new and no stressing about "what ifs".
Here, Ben Greenfield tells you some things he is doing leading up to the 2013 Ironman Canada.
We also wrote about changing your mentality about a taper. Instead of it being a "lazy" time where your training is reduced, think of it as a time to sharpen and peak!
As for the day before an event
Prior to many events there is often a pre-race pasta dinner and an expo for larger races. It is in the best interest of the athlete to avoid over-eating the last few days before an event. As Ben mentioned above, he likes to do a lot of blended or juiced options to keep food in his body light and minimal. Also be careful to not spend a huge amount of time walking around at the pre-race expo or sampling a bunch of new treats. Your body is likely not used to 3-4 hours of standing and walking around to different booths and bite sized variations of 15 different energy bars.
Now, on the big day
There are many quick ways to get some free speed on race day.
Also important, but often neglected, is the warm up.
This is good practice to do before any race or key workout. 1) Start with Jay Johnson's Lunge Matrix routine in the video above. 2) Next, go into a very easy jogging warm up. Anywhere from 1-3 miles, depending on what you're comfortable with. You can add in some strides as well to this jogging. 3) Now either in the middle of the jog or afterwards, go through some warm-up drills.
At a very large event where you have to stand in a corral, the lunge matrix and some of these drills can be performed in place without taking up too much space or kicking a fellow runner. It's very important to keep your body warmed up to lesson the shock of that race start!
If you watch closely, you'll often see elites over dressed before an event during their warm up. This is simply to keep the body and muscles warmed up and ready to go. They're always always moving around. Even at a track race, you'll see the athletes jumping or occasionally dancing in their lane, before they take their marks. If the event is cold at the start, you can buy some clothes at thrift shop and leave them in your corral, where the race can collect them and re-donate the items.
Finally, the gun sounds and you're off!