Pre-Race advice from: Evolution Physical Therapy
You’ve put in countless hours of training - all the hard prep work is done. Your lucky outfit is ready. Your shoes are out. Now, it's time for the race. Two important details will be your nutrition on race day and your pre-race warm-up routine to prime the body for a hard effort.
HOW TO FUEL YOUR BODY ON RACE DAY
What should you eat on your big day? You don't want all of those hard days of training to go to waste because you fueled incorrectly! With those pre-race jitters, eating before a race may be tough, but it is vital.
Getting a balanced, nutrient-rich breakfast before the race is ESSENTIAL to preventing a mid-race slump and ensuring a consistently high energy level throughout the race. Reilly Brown, Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist suggests a pre-race meal 3-4 hours before start time aim for a meal of at least 500-600 calories and foods that are:
High in carbohydrate (whole wheat bread/waffles/English muffin)
Moderate in protein (eggs, nut butters, turkey bacon, protein powders)
Moderate/low in healthy fats (nut butters, egg yolks, avocados)
Low in fiber
Other recommended tips are to prioritize plain foods; no surprises or foods new to you. Save those for after the race. Additionally, you will want to eat something ASAP after you wake up – your body needs fuel!
If you have trouble eating in the morning or are going to be consuming something less than 2 hours before the race, a nutrient-dense liquid may be the best option. Liquid takes a shorter amount of time to digest and is a great choice when you're short on time or for someone who's not used to an early breakfast.
Hydration is also important! A couple hours before the race, aim for 16-32 oz of fluid. Then 1 hour before start time, drink 8-12 oz of an electrolyte drink. This will keep your core temperature down and help your body temperature to stabilize during the race.
Pre- Race Warm Up Routine
Lastly, right before the race you’ll want to go through a pre-race warm up. A good warm-up routine will, of course, get your body warm, but will also get your muscles and joints primed to handle the task at hand. The goal is for your body to feel good when the gun goes off. An appropriate warm-up should start with dynamic mobility drills followed by running-specific drills.
If you have any particularly problematic areas that you've been working on with a PT or coach, start with those first. Next, focus on the hamstrings, hip flexors, adductors and spine. These are easily incorporated into running-specific positions by doing a few different lunge variations.
Finally, get the body primed with running-specific drills that focus on different components of the stride. This will help with running form and make your stride more fluid from the start of the race. Think of it as activating the muscles used most often in your running stride in advance. These drills include high knees, butt kicks, A-skips and cariocas.
You are ready! Good luck with your Malibu VRTL Half Marathon or 5K!