When an objective competition is approaching, the pressure increases and the pre-race can be mismanaged. We have been preparing for months to get to the top of our game on D-Day and achieve the best possible performance. Stress increases and can lead to bad choices before the race. Review of what NOT to do to maximize your chances of success! ????
1 - Do a big training before the race to reassure yourself
This is the most common mistake. We are all tempted to do a training that will show us that we are in good shape to reassure ourselves! If we don't do it, we feel like we're going to lose the form we took so long to get! And yet, training hard before a race is clearly counterproductive. The basis for success in competition when you have been serious in your preparation is freshness! You have to feel like a lion in a cage in the last days before the race! It allows you to release all your energy once the start is given!
Because the slight advantage that the mind gains through intense training before the race, the physical will lose it at the end of the race. Whether in terms of intensity or volume, the last week we calm down! (and more if you're talking about a marathon as I say here). And if you want to know exactly what to do during the last training session before a competition, I made a video on the subject explaining everything:
2 - Change your Objective
An objective is defined long before the race. Even before the preparation of his training plan. If it finally seems too hard or too easy, it can be re-evaluated in the middle of the preparation in order to work on these new foundations. On the other hand, changing your objective at the last moment, before the race because you feel like you're in good shape, it's not a good practice. You must validate your objective pace during training or you don't know how you will react to it.
Run the first half of the race at the expected pace. Then take stock and if you feel like you're growing wings going there, restart for the second part of the race. You take a much lower risk by doing so! Otherwise, the end can make you lose all the benefit of the fast start, or even more...
3 - Eat any way you want
The week before an objective race, we try to eat healthy, without excess so as not to stress the body unnecessarily. The objective is to put the body in the best position to perform on D-Day. The digestive system is a key element of the human body and its proper functioning is therefore very important to achieve performance when the body is pushed to the maximum of its capacities.
4 - Radically change your diet
On the other hand, if you usually eat very badly, going to 100% healthy last week is an important change for the body that it could not handle well! Think about it before this pre-race! Eating well should be all year round but if it is not the case it is better to make this transition several weeks before the race to adapt gradually. Ditto for the breakfast before the race. Personally I make the same breakfast as the one I tested and validated during my outings specific to the race I am starting from. Sport Cakes and other special products before the race can of course be used but do not fix them! Avoid butter-camembert spreads anyway! ????
5 - Not enough to drink
That seems logical, of course. Hydration is important all year round to improve (see here). It is all the more so when we prepare the body to push its limits. Because without water, it is impossible to push back its limits, the body will not be able to manage it! A constant walk with a bottle in the last days before the race is essential to stay constantly hydrated. Don't drink too much either thinking it will help you, it's useless! ????
6 - Not getting enough sleep
Lack of sleep is very detrimental to performance, I have discussed it in detail here
. And the last week before a competition, it's even more important! Indeed, it is necessary to make sure to sleep a lot and especially, to wake up feeling rested. It's that simple!
And for the anxious, sleeping less, if not little, the day before the race is not as important as it seems! If you slept well all week before the deadline, you have stored this physical freshness. So the last night is not going to break all that profit. On the other hand, if you have slept moderately all week... This is where this last short night can be detrimental to you.
7 - Buy new equipment for the race
Not to be done! The visit of the running show, a good salesman and we leave with a pair of new shoes that will make us go faster? It's too late for that. You have to take the time to "make" a pair of shoes, to adapt it to the foot during training. Ditto on the nutrition side, no test on the D-day of the new Camembert gel that looks so good!
8 - Do not anticipate the pre-race
Preparing at the last moment, not knowing what to wear, not knowing what to be late, forgetting an important element of your outfit for the race... Not anticipating the pre-race is an easy mistake that we have all already made. We add an extra stress that we absolutely don't need before a race!
9 - Do not look at the weather
Studying the weather in advance (not too much in advance or it may change) is very important! Choose an appropriate outfit and prepare it the day before the race too. Ideally we will have a list of everything we need to take with us to reuse at each competition. Don't forget to study pre-race logistics. For example, calculate at what time you wake up and eat... If all this is planned, your before the race will go smoothly!
10 - Don't relax before the race!
This is the only part that is not fully under control. Pre-race stress is normal and often beneficial! Good stress is the one that will boost you, allow you to put yourself right away in the event at the start and then surpass yourself! Too much stress and you lose your mind, you lose your nervous impulse. Focusing on breathing to stay calm before the race is a very good practice. It helps to relax and relieve bad stress, abuse it! And don't forget that we're here to have fun first and foremost! We don't play our lives on the race so we enjoy it and smile! So ready for a new record? ????