After a somewhat unexpected and disruptive week of snow, it has been nice to see a return to the normality of early spring…lovely to see the sun and of course rain and near impossible to do a run without thinking you have too many / too few layers on!
The run up to the Eastleigh 10k always includes a daily weather watch and such is our British weather in March there is no guessing what the weather will be on the day. Hint of summer sun…or return to biting winds and rain?? We will see.
Last night, we were joined by Running Coach, Mike Chambers from Next Step Running and 13 keen runners who have signed up for the 2018 installment of the ever growing and popular Eastleigh 10k road race, to talk through their last 10 days preparation…and yes this included the weather!
Mike has kindly written this guest blog post for us.
The evening began with introductions with a mixed audience of first time 10k runners through to the more experienced runners in the hunt for a new PB. But what unites all us runners is the thirst for information to improve your running and the mind games that go on in your head in those final few days.
We talked through dealing with nerves, trying to get the whole thing in some perspective compared with the really important things in our lives….and could we all run a little bit more like Eluid Kipchoge…not as fast but at least with a smile on our face!
One of the hot topics of debate for this evening (and every evening you spend with a group of runners) was focused on the last week of training and tapering before a key race. The greatest fear among many new runners is getting to the start line tired from training in the last week, but in my experience, backing off too much is more likely to leave you feeling flat come the big day. Our bodies crave routine, so just take out some of the volume (30%), just tweak the intensity down a notch and keep the same number of running days….and don’t go to Ikea the day before race day! Easy runs with ‘race pace’ strides (4 or 5 x 30 second bursts) or even ‘pick up’ miles at the end on your easy runs is a simple taper for new runners over a 10k distance. This will keep your body in tune with the pace needed on the day, without digging too deep.
And of course we talked about food! In a world of super foods and diet programmes and get fit quick solutions, I like to keep things simple. 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 more importantly, graze through Saturday with little and often approach to snacks. And we tried to dispel myths and one claim on the night that new research suggested you don’t need any carbs at all!
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 wont need fueling during the race, your body will have all the glycogen stores you need to fire you to the finish.
Race Day Prep
Most runners I know 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. Thinking through travel and parking on the day. Kit laid out day before (OK, I will be honest, I have laid my kit out at least 3 days before!!). Race number pinned on and check and double check have everything you need…..remember the weather…this could be vest or t shirt, but equally we may be looking at base layer, hat and gloves. A layer to keep on to the very last minute also worth having.
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.
Mike Chambers, Running Coach
Next Step Running