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3 Tips for Peaking on Race Day

  1. Warm Up Routine
  2. Tapering
  3. Nutrition

WARM UP ROUTINE

A warm up routine may be the most overlooked because it’s a warm up and many runners like to just run to get warm, but smart runners will have a system of preparation for running, which if planned well can become a system for preparing to not only run, but running to win and win safely.

Start with a self-massage to work out any kinks, knots or muscle spasms you may have as well as to wake up your myofascial system for increased activation and responsiveness.

Foam Roll / Soft Tissue:  5-10 minutes (5-10 rolls per area / limb)

  1. 1-Arm Lat
  2. Mid to Upper Back
  3. Thoracic Extension
  4. Piriformis
  5. Hamstring
  6. Calf
  7. Pec
  8. Bent Knee Adductor
  9. Hip Flexor
  10. Quad
  11. TFL
  12. IT-Band
  13. Shins / Tibialis Anterior
  14. Peroneals

Use a distance of 10 to 15 yards.  Use 10 yards for shorter races (1 mile, 3 miles or 5k) and 15 yards for longer distances (5 mile, 10k, 10 mile, ½ marathon, …) The shorter the race distance, the shorter the duration of warm up required and the longer the race distance, the longer the duration of warm up required

Click Here to Watch A Video Demonstration of a Pre-Race Movement Prep Warm Up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AG75cAaiMYA

  1. Dynamic Calf Push x10 each
  2. High Knee Hug
  3. High Knee Skip
  4. High Knee Run x 20 each
  5. Walking Quad Pull
  6. Heel Up Run x20 each
  7. Backwards Single Leg Dead Lift to Y-Raise
  8. Straight Leg March
  9. Straight Leg Skip
  10. Lunge to Instep with Hip & Toe Raise
  11. Backwards Lunge to Side Reach
  12. Lateral Lunge (switch ½ way)
  13. Drop Lunge  (switch  ½ way)
  14. Inchworm

TAPERING

Tapering is one of my most favorite training activities.  Essentially you’re reducing your total work volume leading up to race day to allow your body to recover and build up a surplus of energy, while keeping your training intensity high to keep your nervous, musculoskeletal and energy systems elevated to peak levels.  You should feel like you could have done more each day and come race day your overflowing with energy like a shaken bottle of Champagne or a rodeo Bull just waiting to break free from the cage.  You may feel extra anxious, aggressive, irritable as well as excited, energized and “bouncy”.  Then when the race starts, you slowly release the champagne cork, or slowly open the rodeo gate until you’re ready to go full throttle.

The movie Braveheart has the perfect analogy of your race day tempo.  Remember you’re super excited, you’re peaking, nervous, anxious, aggressive, there are other people there feeling the same way and if you come out the gates too quickly you’ll burn yourself out and start cramping.  Naturally your pace will be quick b/c of the environment, but don’t actively go all out until the timing is right (i.e.  When you know you can sprint all out without risk of consequences; e.g.  1 mile marker or when you can see the scorer’s table)

So hold, hold, hold and hold some more.  And then still hold, hold, hold and finally NOW!

Example #1:  1 mile, 3 miles or 5k

8 days prior to race

Race Day T-7 Training:  Run and Strength

Roll: 5-10 minutes

Movement Prep: 10 minutes

Run:  ~33 minutes

1 x 1 mile sprint, with ¼ mile active jog for recovery

1 x ½ mile sprint, with ½ time active jog for recovery

2 x ¼ mile sprint, with = time for active jog recovery

Strength: 15 minutes

(75% Volume, 90% Intensity)

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  ~68-78 minutes

Race Day T-6 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  25 minutes

High Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (60-65% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  elliptical, bike, rowing machine, swimming)

Total Time:  ~10-45 minutes

Race Day T-5 Training:  Run & Strength

Roll: 5-10 minutes

Movement Prep: 10 minutes

Run:  ~22.5 minutes

3 x ½ mile sprints with ½ time active jog for recovery

Strength:   10 minutes

(50% Volume, 90% Intensity)

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  ~52.5-62.5 minutes

Race Day T-4 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  20 minutes

High Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (60-65% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  elliptical, bike, rowing machine, swimming)

Total Time:  ~10-40 minutes

Race Day T-3 Training:  Run & Strength

Roll: 5-10 minutes

Movement Prep: 10 minutes

Run:  ~20 minutes

4 x ¼ mile sprints with = time for  active jog/walk recovery

Strength (optional):  10 minutes

(50% volume, 90% intensity)

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  ~40-60 minutes

Race Day T-2 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  15 minutes

High Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (60-65% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  elliptical, bike, rowing machine, swimming)

Total Time:  ~10-35minutes

Race Day T-1 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  10 minutes

Low Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (40-50% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  walking)

Total Time:  ~10-30 minutes

Race Day Training:  Pre-Race

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Movement Prep:  10 minutes

Race:  personal record

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  ?

Example #2:  5 mile, 10k, 10 mile, ½ marathon

8 days prior to race

Race Day T-7 Training:  Run and Strength

Roll: 5-10 minutes

Movement Prep: 10-15 minutes

Run:  ~40minutes

1 x 1 mile sprint, with ¼ mile active jog for recovery

2 x ½ mile sprint, with ½ time active jog for recovery

2 x ¼ mile sprint, with = time active jog for recovery

Strength:  15 minutes

(75% Volume, 90% Intensity)

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  ~82.5-97.5 minutes

Race Day T-6 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  35 minutes

High Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (60-65% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  elliptical, bike, rowing machine, swimming)

Total Time:  ~10-55 minutes

Race Day T-5 Training:  Run and Strength

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Movement Prep:  10-15 minutes

Run:  ~34.5 min

3 x ½ mile sprint, with ½ time active jog for recovery

2 x ¼ mile sprint, with = time active jog for recovery

2 x 100 yard sprint, with 100 yd jog back for active recovery

Strength (optional):  10 minutes

(50% Volume, 90% Intensity)

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  ~54.5-79.5 minutes

Race Day T-4 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  30 minutes

High Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (60-65% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  elliptical, bike, rowing machine, swimming)

Total Time:  ~10-50 minutes

Race Day T-3 Training:  Run & Strength

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Movement Prep:  5-10 minutes

Run:  ~30 minutes

2 x ½  mile sprint, with ½ time for active jog recovery,

2 x ¼ mile sprint, with = time for  active jog/walk recovery,

5 x 100 yards, with 100 yard jog back as active recovery

Strength (optional):  10 minutes

(50% volume, 90% intensity)

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  ~45-70 minutes

Race Day T-2 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  25 minutes

High Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (60-65% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  elliptical, bike, rowing machine, swimming)

Total Time:  ~10-45minutes Cross Training (optional):

Race Day T-1 Training:  Regeneration

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Cross Training (optional):  20 minutes

Low Intensity, Non-Impact Aerobic Training (40-50% Max Heart Rate; e.g.  walking)

Total Time:  ~10-40 minutes

Roll & Stretch

Race Day Training:  Pre-Race

Roll:  5-10 minutes

Movement Prep:  10-15 minutes

Race:  personal record

Stretch:  5-10 minutes

Total Time:  TBD

NUTRITION

Type When What Sample
1 mile, 3 mile, 5k,  5 mile, 10k, 10 mile, ½ marathon, sprint triathlon, duathlon, Olympic triathlon, Night Before High Carb Meal; 300g carbs in meal / snack

Moderate in Fiber

Protein

Low in Fat

Ample Fluid

Pasta

Rice

Lean Protein

Cooked Veggies

Fruit

10k, 10 mile, ½ marathon, duathlon, triathlon, 3-4 hours before Carbs:  1.5g / lb body weight,

low-fat protein

low fat

low fiber

Ample Fluids

Cereals, bread, bagels, crackers, rice, milk, apples, oranges and bananas, potatoes, corn or peas, peanut butter, low fat milk, low fat yogurt, turkey, chicken breast, lean red meat, low fat cheese, juices, jelly
1 mile, 3 mile, 5k,  5 mile, 10k, 10 mile, ½ marathon, sprint triathlon, duathlon, Olympic triathlon, 2 hours before Carbs:  0.5 g to 1 g per lb of body weight,

Minimal, low fat protein,

Low fat

Low fiber

Cereals, bread, bagels, crackers, juices, jelly
1 mile, 3 mile, 5k,  5 mile, 10k, 10 mile, ½ marathon, sprint triathlon, duathlon, Olympic triathlon,

Multiple events in 1 day,

1 hour before Liquids

Easy to digest carbs

*Avoid protein, fat (slows digestion, nausea, vomiting) and fiber (slows digestion, causes unnecessary bathroom trips)

Fruit and vegetable juices, fresh fruit,

Breads, bagels, low-fat yogurt, raisins, high carb Sports drinks, concentrated supplements

Energy bars

Tolerated fruits

Water

Any event requiring carbs and hydration Immediately prior Carbs Sports Drinks or Energy Bars
Endurance events lasting longer than 45 minutes During 30-60g carbs per hour

Carb + Electrolyte or

Carb + Electrolyte + Protein

Energy Gel, Sports Drinks, Energy Bar
Any Event Immediately After

And

Meals within 2-hour window of recovery

Carbs & Whey / Casein Protein Mix

Use this Formula:  Protein (body weight / 2.2 x 0.4) + carbohydrates (body weight / 2.2 x 0.8)

Immediately after:

Shakes

Energy bars (EAS Myoplex Lite)

Sports Drinks

Fruits

Meals:

Pasta

Rice

Vegetables

Fruits

Lean Meats

(Above table paraphrased from Core Performance Endurance by Verstegan, M and Williams P, 2007, pg 88)

Key Points to Remember

  • Races under 1 hour such as 5 and 10ks should skip sugary sports drinks and just drink water.  If your pace is expected to make the race longer than an hour, include these beverages.
  • Skip High Fiber and High Fat foods right before a race will slow you down, make you feel nauseous and may result in unexpected bathroom trips
  • Drink early and often.
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) every 10-15 minutes
  • ***Test***your race day nutrition during your training runs to see how you tolerate certain foods and how quickly you digest food.

So there you go.  You’ve got a pre-race warm up, tapering and nutrition plan to prepare you to be your best on race day.

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Newton Boot Camp

Coach Alves is available for both individual and team coaching and customized training plans.  To learn more please contact him at mike (at) mikealves (dot) com.

References

  1. Bernhardt, Gale.  Training Plans for Multisport Athletes:  Your Essential Guide to Triathlon, Duathlon, XTERRA, Ironman & Endurance Racing.  2nd Ed.  Boulder, CO:  Velo Press; 2007.  323p.
  2. Fitzgerald, Matt.  Get on Track to A Tri.  Metro Sports.  2005.  May.  P26.
  3. Verstegen, M and Williams P, Core Performance Endurance:  A New Fitness and Nutrition Program That Revolutionizes The Way You Train for Endurance Sports. NY (NY):  Rodale Inc; 2007.  238p.

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