As the Eastleigh 10k fast approaches, now is the time to get the final week of training right to ensure our legs feel ready to run when the gun goes!
In these last few days all our training gains have been achieved and banked and now is the time to protect our fitness. But tapering for a 10k can be tricky to get right.
The greatest fear among many new runners is getting to the start line tired from training in the last week, but backing off too much is more likely to leave you feeling flat come the big day. Our bodies crave routine. If you have been running 3 times a week, keep to that in your final week – including the actual race in your weekly volume. Look to reduce volume of miles and training intensity but keep the overall structure to your week.
So, no big efforts or hard track or hill sessions this week. 2-3 easy runs of 20-30 minutes, perhaps finishing with the final 5-10 minutes near your planned race pace will be plenty to keep your legs ticking over and familiar with the speed you will need on the day. A short run the day before the race, just 15 minutes or so at an easy pace with 2-3 blasts of 30 seconds near race pace will clear your legs ready for Sunday.
In a world of super foods and diet programmes and get fit quick solutions, keep things simple when thinking about our running nutrition.
As long as you are eating a sensible balanced diet, keep to it, no major changes and no major carb load! The small taper in your training in the last week will act as a carb load if you maintain your usual diet. Yes, to a carb based meal the night before but try and have this early in the evening. And this does not need to be super sized! That will just leave you feeling heavy on the start line. A better approach is to graze through Saturday with little and often approach to quality foods.
Make sure your body is hydrated through those last few days, and don’t go chugging water Sunday morning…you will feel heavy…and be in a long queue for the toilet. Keep up some electrolyte in take through a sports drink on the day. Gels – realistically unless running over 70-80 minutes for the 10k, you won’t need fuelling during the race, your body will have all the glycogen stores you need to fire you to the finish.
Race Day Preparation
Most runners are creatures of habit and getting the timetable right on the day is critical to avoid a full meltdown! This works best by working backwards from the race start time, breakfast around 2 hours before this and then maybe a light snack (banana) an hour before.
Thinking through travel and parking on the day. Kit laid out day before. Race number pinned on and check and double check have everything you need…..remember the weather and dress accordingly. The 10k is normally in March when the weather can vary significantly …this could be vest or t shirt, but equally we may be looking at a base layer in extreme circumstances. A layer to keep on to the very last minute also worth having. But as we’re in August it could be super hot and sunny!
Race day is about trusting in your training and committing to what you set out to do, be it just get round or chasing that PB. Visualise achieving your goal, crossing the line and getting the medal and t-shirt will help you to make that your reality.
So, to all of you doing your first 10k, chasing a new PB or whatever your motivation for getting out there on race day, smile, commit to your pace and the very best of luck.