Long Runs- About 3-4 weeks before your race, your training plan will include your last couple of long runs. Use these to dial in your schedule and routine for race day. This is the time to write down a routine so that you can follow suit on race day. Things to include in this timeline are when to wake up, when to eat, use the restrooms and change into your running gear. Try to include drive time to the starting line, walking to the line and using the restroom before heading to your corral. I like to break it down to “Hours Before Start Time” so that you can adjust it to different race start times.
For example, here is the race day routine that I’ve been using for the last 10 years. This is what I use as my routine, but not at all what everyone needs to do in order to be successful. The idea here is to take the template of the timeline and tweak it to your own personal needs. It may seem a bit like overkill, but if you get it down on paper, it can take a lot of the stress out of race morning.
3:00 hours before race time- Wake up and get coffee and breakfast started.
2:30 hours before race time- 2 packets of maple and brown sugar oatmeal (+ banana for marathon distance)
2:15 hours before race time- change into running clothes and make sure that all of my race gear is in the bag
1:45-2:00 before race time- Leave house
1:30 before race time- Arrive and eat another banana
1:15 before race time- Attach bib to race jersey
1:00 before race time- Change into running shoes
0:50 before race time- Warmup jog
0:25 before race time- stretch, drills, change into race top
0:10 before race time- head to start line and hit some strides if possible
Shoes- The ideal time to buy new shoes before the race is at least three weeks before race day so that you can get them a few short runs and at least one solid long run in them to make sure that they feel comfortable. My advice is to get a new pair of the same model that you’ve been in during the training so that you aren’t worried about trying a completely new pair of shoes during the weeks leading up to the race. If you are racing in flats or a different lighter pair than you do most of your daily training in, this is the perfect time to test them out in a long tempo run or progression long run to make sure that they feel good during longer, faster efforts.
Apparel- You may seem a little silly doing this, but wear the EXACT outfit (shoes, socks, shorts, top, hat, etc.) that you plan on racing in during a long run about 3-4 weeks out so that you can double check that everything fits and doesn’t cause any issues. If any issues do arise, this is the perfect time to adjust or figure out where you need to put body glide or change things up on race day.
Nutrition- For your last 3-4 long runs, follow the exact same routine that you plan to follow on race weekend. Eat the exact same meal that you plan on having the night before the race, the same breakfast the morning of, and try to nail down the itinerary that is outlined above so that the morning of the race you’re locked into a routine.
Training- The last 1-2 weeks of your training isn’t going to really have a huge effect on how you perform on race day. During the last two weeks you can’t improve on your fitness, but you can negatively affect your improvement by trying to make up missed long runs or extra workouts that will only fatigue you more leading into the race. If you don’t feel good in the month before the race, taking an extra day or two of rest or a down week 2-3 weeks before can be a smart plan in the long term.
Mental Prep- It’s easy to get nervous in the weeks leading up to the race but channeling that energy into positive thoughts can have you ready to go on race day. Some of my favorite methods of dealing with nerves is to write down all of the key workouts that I’ve done in the previous 8-10 weeks so that I can look at everything I’ve done and know that I’ve prepared and done the work to get it done on race day. Visualization is a great tool to use in the weeks leading up to race day. I’ll lay down and go through step by step the morning of the race, from eating and getting dressed to the warmup. Then I’ll think about the race mile by mile, picturing myself hitting the splits that I have planned and tricking my mind into believing that I’ve already run the race successfully.
Race Week Itinerary- A lot happens on race week and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the hoopla of the expo and the town turning its attention to the race. Join us on Tuesday, April 24th at the Brentwood location at either noon or 6 PM for our Rock n Roll Course Info Meeting where we’ll go over a list of things about race week expo, the course, spectators, parking, starting corrals, restrooms and more!
Post Race- Treat yo self! You’ve trained and accomplished a goal that you set for yourself months ago. Bring your medal and your appetite to the Fleet Feet Nashville post race party benefitting St Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Sunday, April 29th. We’ll be opening the Brentwood store from 12-5 for you to come get a finishers shirt from Hip Hues, get your medal engraved with your name, relax and recover at the Normatech boot station and even enjoy an adult beverage or two. See you there!