What to do the week before race day

ABP Newport Marathon Festival | NEWPORT, WALES

The ABP Newport Marathon Festival is just over a week away. While the bulk of your training should now be complete, there’s still some important things to consider that can help you perform at your best.

Run 4 Wales Race Director, Steve Brace, is a double Olympian having represented Great Britain in the men’s marathon in the 1992 and 1996 summer Olympics. He’s also a former winner of the Paris and Berlin Marathon, and ran his marathon PB of 2:10:35 in Houston in 1996.

He shares his top tips to make sure you’re well prepared come race day:

Have a rehearsal: Try getting up and going for a run the same time as you would on race day – particularly if you’ve been doing the majority of your training in the evenings and your race starts in the morning. This will help your body prepare for exercising at this time so it’s less of a shock to the system and you’re ready to go.

Work out what you’ll eat: Just like preparing your body for race day timings you should try out what you’re going to eat for breakfast the morning of your race (and also eat this at the same time as you would on race day – ideally two to three hours before the start). This will not only help your body prepare for food at this time, but it will also give you the confidence that what you’ll be eating agrees with you and is unlikely to cause any tummy upset. Opting for a breakfast that is high in carb without being too heavy such as porridge, a bagel and peanut butter or pancakes and aim to eat it at least two hours before the race to allow your body to digest it. Remember that your diet should also be high in carbohydrates throughout the week to help boost your energy levels for race day.

Stay hydrated: Make sure you’re keeping your hydration levels topped up in the days leading up to the race – around 2 litres a day, although the amount does vary between individuals based on their size and needs to take in other lifestyle factors too, like whether you’re getting fluids from the food you’re eating, if you’re drinking coffee (which can dehydrate) and if you expel a lot of heat from your body.

Rest up: In the week before your race it’s important that you’re sticking to your tapering plan and getting plenty of rest for the big day. It can be tempting to fill your newfound free time with other activities but be mindful not to exert yourself. Even something as simple as gardening can tire you out. Instead use this as an opportunity to take it easy, safe in the knowledge that you’ve already done the hard work and cramming in extra training will only hinder your race day performance.

Calm your mind: In the days leading up to a big race, your mind can often play tricks on you. With nerves about the start line at an all time high, your mind can often try to persuade you not to run – but the important thing is to not succumb to it. Remember all your strengths, how well your training has gone and your ‘why’ for signing up to the event in the first place.

Sort out your kit: Work out what you’re going to wear for your race ahead of time and always ensure you’ve tested it out on a long run beforehand. Never, ever, wear new kit on the day of the race as you have no idea if you’ll find it comfortable and it could lead to chaffing and blisters. Using Vaseline to rub on any sore areas that are prone to being rubbed by your kit can help too.

Check your travel route: To save yourself any on-the-day stress, pre-plan your travel route and ensure you leave yourself plenty of time before the starting gun fires. Make sure to check for any road closures and plan where you’re going to park if driving, or check the bus and train timetables if getting public transport. Run 4 Wales offers a Park & Ride service for the event available from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) but this must be pre-booked in advance on the event website.

Read your race pack: All Run 4 Wales event information is sent out to participants a week before the race (and also updated on the website), so make sure to familiarise yourself with what’s included such as the route, water stations, timings and general info to help with any FAQs.