Written by Kona Triathlete and F3 Trainer, Amanda Almond.

Increasing spring temperatures remind us that Indy road races are just around the corner. Whether you’re training for your first 5K, a 10k PR, or your 10th marathon, we’ve got some tried and tested do’s and don’ts to help set you up for success on your next race day!

Let’s start with what you should NOT DO:

  1. Nothing new on race day. You’ve probably heard this one before but it stands the test of time. Don’t wear brand-new shoes, or clothes, try out new nutrition, or try a new running technique on race day.  Chances are good your nerves are a little higher on race day anyways and you don’t need the added stress of the unknown of new gear or fuel plus you don’t know how your body will respond to these new things. Take it from me as I decided to run a 10k without socks one time and ended up with 5-inch blisters that took me out of training post-race for over a week.
  2. Don’t eat huevos rancheros for breakfast… ha! But for real, keep your morning of the race meal pretty bland and carb-heavy – too much fat or protein can lead to digestive issues during the race and you’ll need those carbohydrates for race fuel.
  3. The night before your race is NOT the time to eat a massive salad. In fact, your biggest meal pre-race should be breakfast the day before and then taper off. Avoid high-fiber meals for a few meals before to help keep your digestive system happy during your race.
  4. Don’t neglect strength training while you’re training for a race. All too often, I see runners stop lifting because they are scared of being “slow” or “bulky” but the truth is, you need strength in order to maintain speed. Lifting heavy weights for 3-5 reps can help you build the strength you need without adding extra bulk. Come check out one of our Straight Up Strength classes to keep you accountable!
  5. Don’t run every run as a race. I made this mistake in my 20’s. I ran everything as hard as I could every day AND I NEVER GOT FASTER. Most of your run training should be aerobic pace (conversational, RPE of 6-7 or 65-76%) with some speed work and interval training sprinkled in the mix. I applied this concept to my marathon training in 2018 and dropped 49 minutes off my marathon time. Train smarter, not harder

Now, let’s move on to what you should DO:

  1. Practice, practice, and practice. Before every race, I spend many of my training sessions trying to replicate my race day. I eat the same foods I’ll have for breakfast, practice my nutrition strategy, and test out my gear a few times before the big event! This helps me feel more prepared and confident on race day and it gives me plenty of time to change something if I discover my fueling or gear doesn’t work.
  2. Visualize your success. The mental aspect of training is highly underrated. Spend time picturing yourself persevering and crushing your goals. Picture how you’ll respond to rain, wind, or extreme heat. What about if you don’t feel fresh on race day? Picture yourself overcoming that feeling and pressing onward!
  3. SKIP LEG DAY, Bro 🤣 The few days before a race isn’t the time to crush your legs. You’ll want to spend the week before your big day resting a bit more than normal and skipping any lifting sessions to help you rest up.
  4. Hydrate all week. Hydration starts before race morning- spend all week drinking water or some electrolyte drinks to prepare for race day.
  5. Have FUN! Sometimes we get too caught up in the end goal or long training hours wear us down. Try running in a new location, find a running buddy, try a “purpose” run (once I delivered a thank you note to a friend on a run to make it meaningful), create a new playlist, or even get yourself a new pair of fun running socks.

We hope you’ve found this list helpful for your upcoming races. We’d be happy to assist you in training for your races or building strength to support your running. Feel free to contact us at (317) 218-3928 if you’re interested. Good luck from all of us at Fit Flex Fly and happy training!

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