Race planning (pace & nutrition)
It’s finally D-Day. You have been preparing yourself for this for months (hopefully…) and now it’s finally time to shine. This chapter is filled with tips on how to tackle pre-race day and how to make a plan for during the race. Little sidenote, it’s always good to have a plan (and I really recommend it) but be aware that 90% of the time you will have to adjust this plan during trail races, so keep that in mind. But without further ado, lets get started!
The days before your trail race it is very important to spent enough attention to the following things:
- Reduce your workouts: I know you are in the mountains and that it is very tempting to go for a ‘short’ trail, but a trail race also needs a tapering period same as like you would do for a ‘normal’ road race. In the picture below, you can see my tapering week before the Montafon Totale (47K and 4200 D+). For someone who is used to run an average of 5 trainings a week, this could be the example of a tapering week:
- Increase your hydration: You want to start your race fully hydrated because changes of you not drinking enough during the race are pretty high. So start drinking more (+/- 1L more) than you would normally do during the days prior to a race.
- Carb loading: As runners, you have all heard about this term but what does it actually mean and how should you do it? So carb loading means gradually increasing the intake of carbohydrates to ensure that your muscles have enough energy storaged for the race to come. However, you want to be storing your muscles with ‘good’ carbs and not the sugary ones (that you can find in cake for example). Therefore, 2-3 days before (depends on the distance you will be doing) increase the size of your meals gradually. For example instead of eating 100g rice, eat 120g of rice. Also lowering the fibres (fruits and vegetables) is advisable because this will help you to avoid unnecessary toilet visits.
- REST, REST, REST: Especially for those doing ultra trail races, the days prior to your ultra you want to be as much time as possible of your feet. Give your legs (& feet) a break and also allow your mind to relax and to concentrate and the task ahead of you. Does this mean you are not allowed to do anything? NO, some short walks to stay active are more than welcome and also stretching exercises or yoga is advised.
How to plan race day
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ is a quote that will always stick with me. When I first started, I didn’t do any kind of planning and boy did I suffer. Now I really take the time to make a detailed planning and it has helped me tremendously. In the video below I am sharing with you in detail how to make your own trail race planning that will set you up for success: