What to Avoid During Race Week
Race week can be an intense time for many athletes, especially if it is your "A" race. Most of you have worked for months toward this major goal, so you certainly want to present your optimal self on race morning. Having shown up at over 60 races myself, here are a few things you should definitely avoid during race week!
1. Eating anything out of the ordinary. Mexican, Thai, or anything you don’t normally eat. You don’t know how your body will react to new foods and you definitely want to avoid unexpected trips to the bathroom. Bland foods are your friend this week. Think peanut butter and jelly, cereal, broiled chicken and rice. Keep it very simple and avoid high fiber foods such as salads and fruits.
2. Staying out late and not getting 8 full hours of sleep. The more sleep this week the better. Do what you need to do to create a good sleep climate such as turning off all electronics, phones, TVs etc. Sleep gummies are great or a magnesium capsule, herbal tea, quiet music, you get the picture. That night before the night before the race is key for a good night’s sleep. Try to give yourself the optimum amount.
3. Trying a new self care technique such as sauna, hot yoga, blood flow restriction, cryotherapy. Skip these things until AFTER the race. You don’t know how your body will react to them and race week is not the time to try things like this.
4. High volume training- low volume normal intensity is fine but you want to save your energy for the long hours of biking and running on race day. No need to stress about not doing high volume this week- your body is trained and ready. You’ve spent weeks and months getting ready for this event and your fitness level is as high is it can be. It won’t drop in just a few days. Promise.
5. Rushing to the race start. Give yourself a few days to acclimate to the race location, especially if there is a time change. You don’t want to collect your bag at baggage claim and have to rush to the start line. As with any type of travel, there is always the potential for delays. Get to your race destination a few days ahead of time so you can relax and get accustomed to the climate, time change, food, etc.
6. Not hydrating enough. Rule of thumb-half your body weight in fluids and your regular fluid intake based on sweat test for workouts. I tell my athletes to start amping up their hydration at least a full week from race day.
7. Strength training- skip it this week- No need for your muscles to accumulate additional lactic acid from heavy weight training. This will only hurt you in the long run, not help you. Focus your efforts on easy swims, rides, and short runs this week in order to give 100% on race day.
8. Drinking alcohol. Alcohol has the potential to dehydrate you, especially if you drink it multiple days in a row. You didn't fly half way around the world for an Ironman only to become a DNF due to dehydration. Definitely celebrate with a glass of wine or a cocktail AFTER the race.
I hope these suggestions for race week help you make good decisions before your next race. Reach out to me on FB or Instagram to let me know how these worked for you! Need a coach for your next event? Message me HERE and we can set up a free 15 minute call!