It’s the final days before the Coffs Running Festival. The training has peaked and now hopefully there is just some fine tuning to do.
Here’s a few things I’ve learnt over the years which might help you reach the starting line in the best possible shape:
1. Catching up on missed training.
Whatever training you’ve done, it’s done. You can’t squeeze in fitness at this point and if you try to, you risk picking up a late injury or just as bad, you reach the starting line fatigued.
2. Pre Race Niggles
This isn’t unusual if you’re tapering and have gone through a significant preparation. What happens is that the little aches and pains that often develop ‘warm up’ with normal movement in training and daily activity. When your activity reduces during the taper, these niggles aren’t warmed up and you’ll be much more focused on them. It isn’t necessarily a big problem but can be a concern so if you have any questions get some specific advice.
3. Pre-event Massage
Now is not the time to try something new. Massage is an under utilised injury prevention and performance enhancing weapon that can prevent tightness from developing, improving quality of movement and aiding recovery but you need to know how you’ll respond.
Massage can initially lead to soreness as tight and tender muscles get released and while mobility increases, excessive soreness won’t be helpful on Sunday morning. The other consequence of this relaxation of the muscle is that you feel tired and heavy, just flat as the muscle is relaxed and not ready to work. This varies so if you don’t know how strong and energetic you feel after a sports massage give yourself a few days between the massage and the race.
4. Race Day Hydration
You are more likely to over do the drinking rather than dehydrate and the consequences of too much water is significantly more dangerous. The current advice, even with marathons, is to have small amounts when you feel thirsty. Try increasing your fluid intake in the days leading up to the race and avoid running with a stomach full of water.
5. Sleep: The night before the night before.
Nothing new here but if you’ve entered an event, hopefully invested some time in training and set yourself some goals, you’ll almost certainly have some anxiety the night before you compete. This can lead to a restless night and leave you feeling weary on race day. In anticipation of this try to give yourself the chance to have a good nights rest, the night before the night before.
6. The Final Sessions
I’ve personally never felt fast after a rest day, so I would get the legs turning over each day. It doesn’t need to be hard, just short with a few race pace surges a couple of days before the event and early on Saturday, I would suggest a short jog (a couple of k’s), some light stretching followed by 4-6 strides over 50-100m. This is to get the legs turning over, not tired, so everything is relaxed.
They can’t all be prevented but as physio’s working in sport every day we have a lot ways to get people to the finish line so if you’re not sure you can attempt the event, get in touch.
If you have any specific concerns give us a call. An experienced physiotherapist, specialising in running injuries and coaching will be able to answer any questions.
Scott is a physiotherapist with 18 years experience working in sport, include the elite field of the Virgin London Marathon.