Hopefully all the hard training is out of the way and you can now focus on the race! Don’t forget to warm-up – The aim of a warm up is to slowly work up to a pace you would expect to run at during the race. Remember commonly at-risk injury sites – hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, and calf muscles – make sure you stretch these in your warm up and cool down, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
If you get injured
- Seek medical or first aid advice as soon as possible.
- Remember R.I.C.E.R – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral. When icing, apply ice for 10 minutes, make sure you have a barrier (wet towel or bandage) between the ice pack and your skin to avoid ice burns. Allow the skin to return to normal temperature before icing again.
- Avoid alcohol after the race – this can increase bleeding and increase the local damage from an acute injury.
Race day nutrition and hydration
On race day, try to eat 2-4 hours before the race start. It is important to stick to what you have normally eaten before going for a training run, to avoid an upset tummy. Most of your energy should come from a carbohydrate source. Try and avoid high fat, high fibre foods and caffeine, unless you normally drink coffee before going for a run.
Depending on how long you are running for, you may or may not need to eat during the run. As a general rule, if you are running for over 90 minutes your glycogen stores become depleted. Solid foods are normally hard to digest when running, which is why energy gels can be useful as an energy source. Lollies are often preferred by some runners. Again, do not try gels or lollies during a run if you have not done so before as they can often cause an upset tummy. Make sure to consume energy gels with water to aide digestion.
In the days prior to race day, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. If dehydrated, muscles will not function to their max, causing you to feel fatigued, especially running uphill! Try use each drink station to rehydrate with either water or energy drink. Energy drinks are useful if you are feeling particularly fatigued as they contain carbohydrate and sodium which helps with muscle dehydration.