Physiotherapy Tips For Ensuring You Are Ready To Go On Race Day


Physio Podcast Transcript:

“Often our more active clients ask me how they can optimally prepare for race day. Whether it be a triathlon, fun run, marathon or something else – there are some general principles which you can follow to ensure you are at your peak for race day.

I’ve personally found that Race Day’s are an important part of any physical training program as it gives you something to aim for. Without having that target, or goal, you’ll often find it easier to short cut your training programs and fitness routines. By having the goal though, it adds some extra motivation.

So to those of you who are training for a purpose, here are a few physio tips today on ensuring that you are at your peak on race day. Now remember, these are just general physio tips, each type of race that you compete in, I would have a more specific plan for you.

If you’re looking for a specific plan then I suggest you get in touch with us for some professional advice. With that said though, here are some general rules of thumb which you can follow to ensure you are at your peak on race day.

The first tip is to taper off your training the week prior to the race. If you’ve been doing intense training leading up to the actual race day then you want to taper off your training the week prior.

For example, if you are running a marathon then on the week of the marathon you should cut out any intense training sessions. You should not be doing interval training or speed based running. In this particular case you should do a couple of light runs during the week but have a complete stop 2 days before the actual marathon.

This is the same principle for any other style of race. The intensity of your training should taper down so that you are fresh for the actual race.

The second tip is to hydrate. Forty-eight hours before the race you should increase your consumption of water to ensure that you are adequately hydrated before the race.

It’s normal during a race to put your body under intensity and pressure that it hasn’t felt during training. This is you attempting to do your personal best. To do your personal best your body needs to be adequately prepared. Part of that preparation is hydration.

In the case of a marathon again, I would attempt to drive above 2 liters of water per day for the 2 days before the race at least. This should ensure that you are adequately hydrated for the race.

As well as drinking water, you should also avoid drinks and food, which lead to dehydration. Alcohol is a big no no, cut that out the week before the race if you can.

The third tip is probably a little different to what you expect. Recently research has shown that recreational runners who compete in races are better served by having a pasta style meal 2 days before the race, rather than the day before the race.

I don’t know about you, but as a kid I was always told to eat pasta the night before a big game or a big race. Well recent research shows that it’s actually better for your energy stores and preparation to have pasta 2 nights before the race.

The night before the race should be a lighter meal so that you don’t feel lethargic or “full” when you wake up for the race day. Remember, you are attempting to have your body prepared at the optimal level for race day.

The next tip may also appear a little weird. When I was growing up I was told that you shouldn’t drink coffee the day before the race or even on the day of the race. It was thought that drinking coffee would dehydrate you and thus take away from your race preparation.

Again, recent research has shown that having coffee has no measurable negative affect on performance. In fact the research has shown that it’s quite possible that drinking a coffee the morning of the race has a positive effect on your race day performance.

Now I was pretty shocked when I first heard this, just like you may be. The reality is that research doesn’t lie and as we continue to research topics we’ll find out new and often surprising results.

The fifth and final tip is a simply said one, but often a difficult one to follow. The fifth tip is to remain calm and relaxed. You don’t want to get caught up in the moment and burn up too much energy before you actually race.

Whatever it is that helps you relax, it’s listening to music for me, I suggest that you do that the night before the race and in the lead up to the race. You’ve probably noticed that elite sports men and women are often seen walking around with headphones on. They are most probably listening to music that helps them to get into the game day mindset. Something, which they are encouraged and often trained to do.

Follow these 5 simple tips for race day preparation and you’ll find that you’re ready for achieving your personal best. As I said at the start of this podcast, if you’d like more specific advice then I’d suggest you get in contact with us.”