Congrats! You made it!
Now comes the fun part. It’s time to tamper down, saving your energy and strength for race day.
A week or so before the race, enjoy one long run. It’ll be your last run for distance before the race.
During the week, a run half that distance, and then even closer to race day cut the distance in half again. I’m talking only one or two miles tops for the last run. The goal is just to keep your legs warm and feeling good yet not so long where your legs will be tired when you’re on the course. I like to do these runs on the Tuesday and Thursday before a Saturday race.
Your plan should be similar with your strength workouts. The week before the race plan on reducing your workload. Think lighter weights and fewer reps.
Another option is to switch to yoga the week before your race. Instead of strength training two or three days like I regularly would, I mix in yoga. I love the way it makes my body feel loose and ready take on the world. Or an obstacle course race.
Whether I continue my strength workouts or switch to yoga – the day before race day I like to do a light thirty-minute dynamic stretching routine. It’s a great warm up for the muscles, getting them loose and ready.
Whatever you eat the week leading up to your race, is the fuel you’ll be using to keep your body moving on the course. I suggest eating clean and healthy, along with making sure getting enough calories. Some people like to carb load.
For more in-depth food, see this blog post.
It’s pretty simple. The night before, pack what you’ll need. This includes packing your Camel Bak with water and snacks. Plan out what you want to wear and set it out so you don’t have to think in the morning. Pack a bag with a change of clothes, including underwear and shoes (or flip flops). If you have asthma like me, pack your medication. Bring cash for drinks, foods, and souvenirs. Include a trash bag to put your muddy clothes in after the race. That way you don’t have to worry about those clothes sharing the mud with the interior of your car on the way home. Print out your race registration and if you’re an OCD planner like me – feel free to map out the route on Google.
Then go to bed early. Get plenty of sleep.
Wake up and have the healthy breakfast and or snack talked about in this blog post. Eating no closer than two hours before your race, giving your body time to digest.
If you have time, maybe gentle yoga or dynamic workout. Not required, but it would make your body feel good.
Make sure to stay hydrated, but don’t drink too much. Two hours before the race, start to reduce the water you drink so that you’re not feeling bloated on the race. IF you’ve been drinking enough the previous seven days, you should be hydrated enough where you won’t need anything more than a small plastic cup of water right before you start.
Plan on getting to the race area early to park and register. Like TSA, some races suggest being there an hour or two early depending on the number of participants, time on the bus from parking to the actual course and the time it takes to make it through the lines at registration.
In the time between registering and your start time, is a great time for some dynamic stretching and or a short, extra easy run to warm up.
After crossing the finish, take some time for more stretching. Your muscles will thank you. When you get home or back to your hotel, eat a healthy meal. I’ll admit that I don’t always do this, but I always feel better with a healthy meal instead of pizza or burger.
That night take a steamy shower to get rid of all of the mud. Take a relaxing, warm bath. In other words, treat yourself. You did it!
You made it this far! Don’t stop now. Sign up for your next race.
Once you’ve done that slowly work back into your routine and prepare to take it up to the next level.
If you’re sore, dynamic stretching and yoga are great. After my first Spartan Super, I was sore for three or four days. It felt like every muscle in my body was sore, but lots of yoga definitely helped.
As far as running, start with a short, easy run. Next run a little further and faster. Keep increasing until you’re back at your pre-race speed/distance. The same goes for strength workouts. Start slow and light, giving your body time to recover before you start pushing it to that next level.
Have any questions? Is there anything I missed? Shoot me a message or leave a comment. I would be glad to help out.