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Graphic: Running expert gives his final tips ahead of this Sunday’s Norwich Half Marathon

13:36 21 November 2014

Runners at the start of the Norwich Half Marathon.

Runners at the start of the Norwich Half Marathon.

Archant © 2011

In his last column running expert Neil featherby reveals exactly what you should be doing on race day this weekend

Norwich half marathon facts and figuresNorwich half marathon facts and figures

Some of you will have taken part in this event before, but for many others this will be your first time.

This is also the point where you now suddenly find that you have time on your hands as you rest up for the big day and of course wondering whether you have ticked all the boxes.

Whether you have or not the likelihood is you will all have done more than enough to complete the 13.1 miles course and these thoughts are perfectly normal.

Even the elite will be weighing everything up and, of course, wondering about their rivals, but in truth what will be will be and the most important factor is that you don’t waste energy on negative thoughts. Focus your mind on what you have done, ie all those miles of running and hard work which will produce a great performance this Sunday morning.

So I want to focus on last-minute tips and things you should and shouldn’t do.

Don’t go looking to do any more hard running between now and race day. Your training should have been wrapped up days ago. Easy light jogs are fine, but nothing that will detract from your race performance.

This is what you have trained for!

Stand on the start line raring to go, but for those that aren’t racing, it is pace that counts.

Believe me this can either make for a great run or, if you get it wrong, destroy weeks of hard effort.

The most used sentence I hear after such events is “I was on for... and then...”. In other words they went off too quickly.

With so many runners on the start line and the buzz that goes with this race the atmosphere will send your adrenaline levels sky high, but keep your blinkers on and focus on your pace ticking one mile off at a time.

When you get to the latter stages and feel good, particularly if you are passing others that have gone off too quickly, you will suddenly find another surge of adrenaline which will energise your body all the way to the finish line.

Increase the level of complex carbohydrates in your diet between now and Saturday night and then on race day have a light easily digestable breakfast. Carbohydrates will ensure your glycogen levels are topped up. Glycogen converts to glucose in the body during exercise. However, only eat foods that you are used to! Pin your race number on your vest or race top before the day so as to not to be running around on the day looking for safety pins and take plenty of warm clothing with you to put on before and after the race as the weather forecast suggests a cold weekend.

Also remember to pack some fruit, cereal energy bars and even sandwich plus drink in your kit bag to eat after the race so as to help you refuel your body.

Drink water regularly between now and race day, but do not over hydrate. During this race the likelihood is that you aren’t going to sweat bucket loads, but try to consume up to 200mls of water or electrolyte drink every 20 to 30 minutes.

If you use energy gels go for the electrolyte ones, but only use them if you are used to them.

Lots of people have been calling our sports therapist at Sportlink this week with what they think is an injury when in fact it is just a little stiffness. This is normal. You become so aware of your body before big races whereby the slightest little ache and pain becomes a big injury, but once you stand on the start line in most cases those niggles disappear. However, if you are injured or indeed even have a heavy cold, my advice to you is not to run.

Good luck, enjoy every second and please do come and see us on the Sportlink stand. I have enjoyed writing these columns and only hope I have helped some of you during the last few weeks.

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