Stop worrying what others are doing at the Norwich Half Marathon and give yourself a break
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
So this is it…you've made it this far and with just over a week to go final preparations during the last week need to be spot on to get the very best out of all the training that has got you to this point.
For you first timers and novices, the longs runs are done. Hills, interval work and tempo runs should all now be behind you so when you stand on the start line your highly conditioned bodies will be in peak condition to take part in the 2014 Larking Gowen City of Norwich Half Marathon – the 30th running of this fantastic race.
If you have done the work and ticked all the boxes that count then it's basically job done.
However, I have had several calls and visits to Sportlink during the last week or so from runners worried about whether they have done enough and, as always, worrying that someone who they know has done more than them.
Training is such an individual thing, particularly for those who are relatively new to running.
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What you do this year will certainly be different to what you might be doing next year when you are more experienced and more conditioned.
With just over a week to go, now is not the time to start questioning yourself and worrying about whether you have done enough. Whatever you do and at this stage of preparations, don't go looking for that one more long run just to prove to yourself that you can run 13 miles. Don't undertake one more heavy hill or intensive interval session as you could just end up turning it in to one session too many.
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Stop looking at others and take a look back at all the hard work and commitment you have put in during the weeks and even months of getting you from where you were back then to where you are at now. Be positive and proud of all the effort you have given to this. You won't fail!
In fact you may just surprise yourself finishing in a quicker time than those others that have been running for longer than you and of course supposedly having done more than you.
This coming weekend put in a longish run of about 7/8 miles and run at your desired half marathon pace. Concentrate and focus your mind throughout the run on not only holding pace, but feeling strong and in control. Even novices need to have some form of strategy as to how to run the race so come race day with or without a GPS watch to monitor your speed and pace, you will instinctively know the pace you need to run at.
Obviously come the big day with the adrenaline of lining up with thousands of others, the excitement of such an occasion has in the past caused countless numbers of people to ruin months of training through going off too quickly, so even more reason to use this weekend's run to fine tune your mind and body.
After the weekend and for the rest of race week, if you want to get the very best out of all your hard work and efforts, cut your training back by 50pc so when you stand on the start line you are fully fresh and raring to go. To keep your legs turning over and feeling fresh throughout the week just do a few short runs with a few stride outs.
Cutting training back before a race is not as easy as some may think as after weeks of increasing your workouts, to suddenly cut back and have more time on your hands can seem strange. More time to think as well of course. With this in mind make sure that you think positively. It is a great way to form a blueprint in your mind as to how you are going to run your own race and turn all those many miles of training into a great run on the day.
Spend time doing things like putting your number on your race vest before race day as there is nothing worse than running around looking for safety pins on the day because you have forgot to bring some or worse still forgot to bring your number with you. It has happened before on several occasions.
Pack items of kit which you may need, irrespective of whether you use them or not on the day. Better to have them when you arrive than suddenly realise that the weather is cold and wet and you haven't brought the extra top or shower jacket to protect you from the elements before and after the race.
I have mentioned this in an earlier column here and you may have practised this already. However, for those that have not – or perhaps didn't see the article – increasing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet for two to three days before long distance races will undoubtedly help you get the best from your efforts on the day.
However, don't start eating foods that you haven't eaten before or of course over eat so come race day you feel totally bloated. Resting up and eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates will increase glycogen levels in your body which will increase energy levels for the race.
All athletes should always be in a hydrated state, but this week pay extra attention to making sure you are. However, don't suddenly start taking on extra bottles of water as this can cause several other issues, never mind running to the toilet throughout the day and night when of course you want to be making sure you get a good night's sleep. Try to avoid drinks that have a diuretic effect such as too much coffee throughout the day. Providing your urine is of a pale straw like colour then you can be sure you are hydrated.