I got an interesting question/suggestion on Twitter the other day for a quick tip episode: what should you do in the last month before a race?
As a running coach, this might be one of those things that I often overlook in my own training because I just kind of “know” what to do.
And for the runners I coach? Since I’m telling them what to do as we go, I’ve never tried to break down what to do the month before a race.
But what about those that are more or less on their own for their training? What should they do for the last month of their race preparations?
Things To Do in the Month Before a Race
As you approach a month out from the race, you (probably) still have 1-2 good long runs left on your schedule before you start to get into the taper period.
So from a pure training period, nothing much changes when you’re a month out. Stick to your training as closely as you can, but don’t let yourself get stressed out if life throws you a curve.
Remember, no single workouts are do or die. You can always adjust if necessary.
That said, when you’re about 30 days out from your race there are some things you can/should be doing in preparation for your race.
Most of us, myself included, probably don’t get as much sleep as we should.
If you know you’ve got a few high mileage weeks in front of you, one of the best things you can do for your body/health/training is to make sure to get a little extra shut eye every night to allow your body to do its thing.
Tissue repair. Immune system boost. Improved endurance.
All of these things happen when you’re sleeping. So sleep more.
Dot the Is and Cross the Ts
Are there any logistical things that need to be addressed between now and the race?
If so, figure them out now instead of waiting for the last minute when the last thing you need to be doing is worrying about finding a place to stay the night before the race.
Believe me, I know this one from experience.
If you’re traveling, make sure lodging and transportation is all taken care of ASAP. If you are going to a destination race, like a runDisney event, figure out what you’re going to do beyond running.
Get all of that little stuff done now, so you have less to worry about as the race approaches.
If it’s at all possible, and it’s almost always possible, do a dress rehearsal for your race during a long run.
Wear exactly what you’ll be wearing on race day to make sure you’re not rubbing in any of the wrong places. Eat what you plan to eat before the race. Practice your pacing strategy and your fueling/hydration strategy. Break in a new pair of shoes if you haven’t done so yet.
Basically, you want to minimize the likelihood of something going wrong on race day by trying it first.
The one caveat here is that if you’re traveling to a location with a dramatically different climate, you may be SOL.
Do the best you can, ok?
Respect the Taper
As you get into the couple of weeks pre-race, it’s taper time.
Please, for the love of everything holy, respect the taper!
You’re going to get a case of the taper crazies at some point, so accept that. But that doesn’t mean you should try and avoid tapering.
That block of reduced mileage isn’t going to have a negative impact on your fitness (I promise) and you’ll appreciate the feeling of fresh legs on race day.
Start Hydrating Early
As you get to the week of the race, it’s time to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water on a daily basis.
Hopefully you’re drinking enough water as it is, but this week it’s important to keep your water bottle full and close.
Even if you’re not expecting heat to play a factor in your race, you never know when the weather happens to be a bit outside of the normal ranges on race day.
So drink up y’all.
As the race rapidly approaches, I can’t encourage you enough to come to peace with the fact that you did what you could in your training and now it’s time to run the race.
And hopefully have a little fun as well.
If you’re gunning for a time goal, I get that you’re probably a little anxious about starting the race. That said, stressing about it before the start of the race isn’t going to help you at all.
Try to relax. Try to have fun.
Watch a movie or some trashy television shows.
Put a Dave concert on YouTube and just enjoy 2-3 hours of musical genius.
I don’t care what you do, just try to get your mind off of the race and enjoy life for a bit.
No Real Last Month Formula
When it comes down to it, just like everything I preach there is no one-size-fits-all bit of advice I can give you to follow the month before a race.
I just can’t.
So use these tips as a starting point to help you figure out what you should/need to do in order to help you be ready on race day.
And when race day comes, have fun!
What Do You Do a Month Before a Race to Make Sure You’re Ready on Race Day?
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