With City2Surf fast approaching we have prepared a last minute guide to your race preparations to allow you to focus on nailing that dream performance on race day.
Once all that hard work is done, we have given you some handy advice regarding your all-important post run recovery, allowing you to minimise muscle soreness and injury risk while still allowing yourself that well deserved ice cream/ beer/ 10 hour sleep once you finish!
It is important at this late stage not to let any fear or performance doubts fuel you into last minute panic training sessions which you hadn’t already factored in. Many people use this race as training for longer distance events, while for others, they have been training hard to reach the goal completing City2Surf. Whatever your race goal, it is a good idea to plan 1-2 rest days just before the race, as it is important to keep your body limber without loading up too much mileage.
2. Hydrate & Fuel
Everyone knows that nutrition and hydration are just as important as training itself. Use this week to maintain hydration levels and it is advisable to avoid excess caffeine and alcohol. It is also recommended to avoid high fat foods which are slow to digest. The old idea of carb loading the night before a race is no longer advised, especially as City2Surf is not classed an overly long distance event. Prioritise carbohydrates but as part of a balanced meal, for example sweet potato mash with chicken or fish and vegetables, or quinoa and veg and salad for a vegetarian option. Do not be tempted to experiment with new or different food or supplements the night before the race- this could result in a grumbling gut and more stops at the toilet during race day than you had anticipated!
On the morning of the race, leave plenty of time to allow yourself to eat should you wish. A good pre-race snack could be a banana and honey on brown bread and, if you use it, a coffee. Do not run on a full stomach or use caffeine unless you are practised at it.
On waking on race morning, start sipping on water when you wake up but don’t go nuts. Your hydration preparation this week should mean that your body is well-hydrated and ready to rock!
3. Be organised!
It goes without saying to have a good sleep the night before and get up in plenty of time to get yourself to the venue- you don’t need extra stress on race day.
Do not be tempted to try anything new on race day- this includes food, drink, supplements, energy gels, clothing and trainers. Stick to what you know!
Ensure that any electronic equipment that you will require on the day is fully charged and ready to go- get that running playlist sharpened up and loaded with whatever you need to motivate you.
4. Stay warm
Plan to arrive early and rug up- it is still pretty cold in the mornings and it is much harder to warm up a freezing cold body. A good idea is to wear old clothing which you can have on right up to the start of the race and then throw it away when you start.
An effective warm up is crucial on the morning of race day to wake up the body and mind, and warm up muscles and joints for the 14kms which lie ahead. Your warm up should be done while still wearing warm clothing and should consist of 5-10 min light jog followed by dynamic movements and dynamic stretching. These may include; small jumps and twists on the spot, hip mobility drills, squats, walking lunges, high knees, side steps, kick outs, hamstring swings, butt kicks and calf pumps.
You’ve done it….all your hard work and training has paid off and you’ve crossed the finish line. As tempting as it is to grab a banana and hit the shower, then the bar, huge benefits can be gained by focusing a little extra time on your post-run recovery. An effective recovery protocol can reduce the severity and duration of muscle soreness post exercise.
1. Cool down
Straight after the run you should walk around to allow your heart rate and breathing to return to normal, and think about putting on some warmer clothes to allow your body regulate your core temperature.
Stretch while your muscles are still warm. Muscle groups which can be problematic for runners and you should attempt to include in your post-run routine include; hamstring, glutes, hip flexors and calves.
Many people find that a period spent with your legs elevated post run prevents blood pooling in the legs and feet and assists circulation. This can easily be achieved by lying with your legs straight up against a wall for 5-10 minutes. Ideally this should be done once you have settled your heart rate and breathing and after stretching.
Refuel with a mix of carbohydrates and proteins which will replenish muscle glycogen and assist in repairing any muscle damage sustained during the race.
Re-hydrating is also necessary to replace fluids lost during exercise. Often if you have sweated a lot during exercise, your body will also require some electrolytes to re-balance your body systems. This can be achieved by drinking a sports drink, or a 50/50 mix of sports drink and water.
3. Keep moving!
Active recovery is the ideal method for promoting a faster recovery after exercise, and luckily in Sydney we have the easiest access to active recovery….the ocean! Jump in the pool or ocean, waist depth or above, for longer than 10 mins and try some drills such as; walking, cycling motion, leg swings, calf walking and leg kicking.
Following your run, should you have any niggles or aches and pains which do not settle, please contact a physio for assessment and professional advice to avoid the injury progressing or preventing you training for your next challenge!