When it comes to preparing for a race that’s 10K long, it’s never too late to take on board a few last minute “tips”.
As you read this article today, with only 24 hours to go to until the whistle blows at the start of the Great North 10K, there are still a number of things you can do to make that run tomorrow, your race quicker and easier.
Tip 1: The real difficulty that most people face when trying to run this far is “dehydration”. Most of the people that you will see flagging towards the end of a long race are suffering from dehydration, a lack of water and things like “salt” that your body needs to keep on going. Without all of those – heat exhaustion, muscle cramps and even collapsing in a heap because you just cant find any more, are inevitable.
24 hours before an event like this you need to be taking on water. So that little and often. Resist the obvious temptation to consume large volumes of water in the hour or so before the race, too. This will NOT hydrate you. It’ll just make you a regular visitor to one of those plastic blue porta-loos that are very rarely, conveniently located. And besides, if you’re finding that in the morning you’re able to drink a large volume of water, you’re definitely dehydrated and your body will not have time to absorb the water before the race finishes, anyway.
The trick to keeping hydrated as you run around Gateshead, begins today.
Like right after you’ve finished reading this article. The little and often tactic is so important. Any other way and you might find that a good nights sleep isn’t possible tonight, as you’re constantly back and forth to the toilet in the middle of the night.
And your sleep is very important.
Where possible you should aim to go to bed and rise at the same time as you have been doing all this week. Don’t think that by going to bed significantly earlier tonight that you’ll have more energy. That’s not how it works. You’ll just wake up earlier and throw out of the window one of the most important systems your going to need – your metabolism. Simply, this is how and when your body decides it’s going to release its energy – hopefully from all of the pasta and chicken and potatoes you’ve been stocking up on these last few days.
In the 24 hours before the race, you should be looking to eat foods that involve lots of carbohydrates. For tea tonight, try a spaghetti Bolognese or a chicken stir fry with rice, jacket potatoes with tuna or beans could also be an option, and eat plenty of bread too. Add protein in (for your muscles) by trying try fish or eggs and drink lots of milk.
In the morning, resist the temptation to get too excited. Some of the very top performers in sport, people like Olympic legend Michael Phelps, choose to wear headphones and listen to music that keeps them calm. Blocking out the noise and the electric atmosphere that surrounds them, as they know that this is one way to loose adrenaline. And it’s loosing too much adrenaline that makes you feel tired early in a race. Use your iTunes account wisely. Calm, relaxing songs are important before the race.
For fluids on the morning of the race you should switch to isotonic style drinks and food, be careful not to overload with a meal that is too heavy or takes too long to digest. Try toast with scrambled or poached egg and a glass of milk.
And one more IMPORTANT thing… Don’t forget to be warm up before you stretch. I see many people making the biggest mistake of all when they’re on the start line of an event like this. Stretching muscles that are stone cold is a quick way to get injured. Make sure that your muscles are warm by jogging on the spot for 7-8 minutes before you stretch any muscles.
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Article printed in Pauls’ “Feel Great For Sport” Weekly Health And Fitness Column In The Northern Echo Newspaper, July 2014.
More sports Injury Tips And advice, are here: www.paulgoughphysio.com/sports-injury