Whether you are training for a 100m sprint or a 10K, preparation is always important before any competitive event. Preparing yourself both physically and mentally can make all the difference to your performance on the day, as well as preventing injury.
Here are a few tips which will help you run your best race and ensure you obliterate your PB:
Visualise Your Success
Before your race, imagine the moment you cross the finish line. Create as much detail as possible. Picture the crowd cheering and clapping, and use all your senses to create the atmosphere. Think about how you feel physically and emotionally. Even visualising yourself running well will influence your muscles to do so in reality, with the added benefit of your physical training. These factors will help you to feel calmer and can positively affect your performance. If you can imagine yourself achieving your goals, you may find it easier to achieve them for real.
Listen To Music
Bring your iPod along to the event and listen to songs that are sure to get you fired up before the race. Listening to your favourite playlist as you have a pre-race jog will engage your brain and keep you focused, as well as calm your nerves. A couple of examples of motivating songs include “Lose Yourself” by Eminem and “Hall of Fame” by The Script.
Stretches and drills are an imperative part of preparing for a run. They will help you to perform better as well as prevent any injuries. A jog is a good way to start a warm-up. Then stretch each of your arm and leg muscles for 15-20 seconds. Drills are also very important for speed work. Some examples include high knees, skipping and lunges.
Fear and self-doubt can have a negative impact on your preparation and strategy, meaning you are more likely to make mistakes. Thinking with confidence can counter these feelings. Self-talk and making up your own mantras can help. For example, “I can do anything” and “I am fast and strong”.
It is important you eat the right foods to fuel your body so you can perform to the best of your ability. Foods full of carbohydrates and proteins are vital in terms of preparation for an athletic event. Start the day with some porridge and fruit, such as berries or chopped-up mango. Omelettes, jacket potatoes and grilled chicken are also great choices for refuelling after a hard workout.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
It is imperative that you wear clothing that is comfortable for any race, as it goes without saying that your performance will be affected detrimentally if you are uncomfortable. Wear light clothes that will let your skin breathe. Footwear is equally important, and it is recommended you visit a sportswear specialist who will measure your feet and find the best running shoes for you.
If you have a routine before a race, stick to it at all times. For example, only eat foods that helped you to perform well in your training sessions. Also, if you have anything you consider to be “lucky”, use it. Superstitious beliefs and rituals help to calm the mind, and can counter any worries you might have. This will have a positive influence on your race.
Runner’s World - May 2016.