In this article you will find out which competition preparation for endurance races really makes sense.
The 5 tips come from experts who have been through many competitions.
This will give you nutrition and mental training tips for the last hours before your big day, which will also make your competition a success for you.
It’s no coincidence that this article goes online today: Because my day X – the Rauchwart half marathon – is on November 4th, 2017. At 10 o’clock I’ll be at the start and try to undercut my last half marathon time from 2014.
In preparation for this, some articles on the subject of running (especially half marathons) were already online, you can find them here:
In the current article, I took a closer look at the last days before and the day of the competition itself with the help of 5 bloggers friends who have all competed in many more endurance competitions than me – my focus is usually on bodyweight training.
You will now find out what optimal competition preparation looks like for people who have already competed in many endurance competitions. One or the other secret is also included – it is, so to speak, chatted “from the sewing box”.
I hope you enjoy reading and that you can take a lot of tips with you for your competition preparation!
Torsten got up from the couch in 2008 to lead a sportier life. He started with a run of just 15 minutes and reached his goal years later. He ran several marathons and also did an Ironman. As a busy manager, this path was only possible through good self-management. Since 2015 he has been helping people to finally do more sport in his endurance blog. And that with fun and passion!
Day X is imminent. You have been training hard for this day for weeks and now the time has come tomorrow. The tension of the last few days is approaching its peak …
A cake to prepare
I actually have a special ritual for the 1-2 main competitions per year:
I’m baking a cake.
Something I don’t do all year.
The direct preparation begins on the Thursday before the competition. I got the cake from a cookbook for triathletes ([http://www.spomedis.de/triathlon-kueche]) and it is very easy to prepare even for inexperienced bakers like me.
Here are the ingredients for the chocolate banana cake:
- 250g flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 150g Choclait Chips
- 100g butter
- 100g sugar
- 4 mashed bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
Simply mix all ingredients together, stir well and bake in a previously greased loaf pan in the oven at 180 ° C for about 75 minutes.
In addition to the mental aspect that gets me in the mood for the competition, of course this has the effect that I consume enough carbohydrates in the days before the start.
This is particularly important for longer distances such as marathons, bike races or medium-distance triathlons and the like. And the cake has plenty of that – carbohydrates!
Pasta party – no thanks!
Apropos carbohydrates – The much discussed pasta party usually takes place on the evening before the competitions. Even if the flair with the anticipation of the athletes is often very special, I now avoid these events for the most part. Too much hustle and bustle, too much hectic and mostly more food that brings back memories of the “good old” school kitchen.
I prefer to look for a cozy Italian and eat my portion of pasta there. Because that is the day before the race is the same for me. And one more thing is essential the day before the race – drink enough . Ideally, you always have a water bottle with you!
Another tip is sometimes difficult to implement, but very helpful. Don’t go too much the day before the race. The fair attracts with the bargains, there is still something to see here – resist the temptation as best you can. Admittedly – it’s difficult for me, because the flair and the hustle and bustle distracts well from the excitement.
The checklist against forgetting
By the evening before the competition at the latest, I will finally prepare myself by having everything ready for the next day. Since I’ve already forgotten one or the other in the excitement, a checklist now helps me to prevent this from happening again. Highly recommended!
The morning before the race, there is only a light, small breakfast consisting of rolls with jam and honey. I will definitely leave further experiments and the tension ensures that I find it very difficult to get the food down.
And then you have to go to the start calmly and on time (!!!). The less hectic in the morning, the greater the anticipation and enjoyment. Because it is your day, your race for which you have trained hard for weeks. Have a lot of fun out there!
Oliver is the founder from effectivelaufen.
He is your online running trainer, time strategist and motivator.
He prefers to be on the half marathon distance. Get a lot of tips for your running training at www.ffektlaufen.de
This is how every competition is noted in my calendar. But actually the race day starts the day before.
If possible, you have had your start number sent to you. If not, be sure to pick it up the day before. That saves stress on race day. And mostly you already have the chance to sniff a little competition air. You can see where the changing rooms are, where the starting point is.
If it is a larger running event, there is usually also a running fair. Equipment is usually a bit cheaper here. Buy yes, wear no on race day. You should only use tried and tested items of clothing and, above all, worn-in shoes.
Got your start number, now it’s time to pack your bag. Put everything you need ready to hand.
Competition clothing, a change of clothes, shower kits and running shoes are the basic equipment. Something to drink and a banana or something like that. Make yourself a list, then you can tick off what goes into your pocket. Ensures you don’t forget anything.
Then clarify your arrival. How long will it take you? Where is parking available? How long do I have to walk from the parking lots to the changing rooms or starting point? Plan your arrival so that you are there at least an hour in advance.
Make yourself mentally strong. Visualize your finish again. How will you feel when you cross the finish line: joy? Relief? Take this feeling with you into the competition. Retrieve it when things don’t go well.
Because your head always fails first, your thoughts also determine the course of the race. You built your form with a good training plan.
When I arrive at the competition site, I always eat a banana one hour before the start. I know superstition, but if it helps.
The time has come
Looking for changing clothes You another toilet. Tie the laces of your running shoes with a double knot. This prevents the laces from loosening during the race.
The last half an hour is devoted to rituals and warming up. First, find a quiet place. Close your eyes, take another deep breath. Once again. Notice how you become calmer.
Get ready for your big race. I’ll tell you my mantra, which I keep repeating to myself at this moment:
“I’ve trained that, then I’ll be able to do it”
It will help you get rid of any nervousness. Then the warm-up begins. 10 minutes long. Start with a slow endurance run, very slowly. When you have warmed up a little, do a few more running ABC exercises and you are perfectly warmed up.
Off with you to the start area. Keep warm with a few movements.
And then the starting shot.
Try to run in your time. The first 1-2 kilometers it can be a bit hectic and tight, but then the field pulls apart. Now run exactly your speed. Don’t let faster runners pull you along. And very important: Enjoy your run.
Your run should be fun. We are amateur athletes.
Sure, keep an eye on your target time. But let yourself be cheered and enjoy the route. And very important: Crossing the finish line with a big grin on your face and not looking at your watch. You will always be photographed at the finish line. And do you want a photo with your head down checking the time on your watch? Certainly not. So chest out, smile and off you go.
You did it.
After the run is before the next run. Make sure you have enough regeneration. Give your body time to recover. You will recharge your batteries and get stronger out of the resting phase.
Nadin writes as an ambitious triathlete and yoga teacher for the triathlon and fitness blog EiswuerfelImSchuhe.
In addition to the three triathlon-specific sports, she also deals with the topics of sports technology, surfing and health food on her website. She also takes her readers on triathlon trips and competition venues together with sports photographer Oliver.
There is strength in serenity
The last day and the morning before a competition are mainly characterized by calm. I also plan a short training session as well as moments of conscious relaxation. I skip caffeine the day before the big event and choose light meals.
In order to simply avoid unnecessary stress, I would recommend everyone to pick up the starting documents the day before if possible.
For me it has also proven useful to take a closer look at the destination. It’s a kind of mental training that has become extremely important to me over the years. Keyword visualization.
As a young girl, in athletics it was part of the normal preparation before each start. I usually sat down under a tree and thought carefully about what it would be like to be on the competition track and finish. Because for me it is not only important what a goal you have set yourself for this day, but also how and where you want to reach the goal. Unfortunately, I’ve lost that over the years. But with the triathlon training I relived these moments. The book Mental Training for Triathletes and all endurance athletes has also given me very valuable input.
A short training session the day before the competition is just as compulsory for me as rest, in order to get any heaviness out of the body and to give the muscles a certain basic tension. If I’m very excited or excited, a yoga class can help. I then practice all to myself, relax the mind and concentrate on the competition.
The day X
On the morning of the competition, I always need a lot of freedom, rest and time for myself.
I prefer to get up earlier than let it get hectic. I treat myself to a light breakfast, drink a lot and, like the day before, try to get enough vitamins, minerals and trace elements. My obligatory breakfast consists of a light and mostly fruity porridge, matcha latte and iso drink.
On these mornings, I always say that I will focus on the event. But the fun shouldn’t be lost. Usually we’ve all done our homework. That is why we naturally always want to get the best out of ourselves on competition day. But in my experience, doggedness is rather counterproductive.
That’s why I can only recommend everyone to enjoy the day of the day!
Discover the world continuously – that is Mandy’s motto.
On her blog Go Girl! Run! and the podcast of the same name is all about running, traveling and triathlon.
It motivates women to bring more exercise into their everyday lives and to trust themselves more in order to set ambitious goals. In summer 2017 she also completed her second half marathon and is toying with the next one in the coming year
You have trained for your big goal for weeks, if not months.
Now the time has finally come and the day of the half marathon is just around the corner. My most important motto for the competition day is quite simply: “Relax!” The more relaxed you are before and at the start of the race, the better you can get the best out of your competition.
Many beginners and people who are perhaps taking part in a running event for the first time stress themselves unnecessarily and strain their nerves even before the race. The reason for this is often that they do not prepare adequately for the day. I don’t mean your training itself, but the preparation for and on the day of the event itself.
The perfect preparation
With a few little tricks and the right preparation you can start your race day relaxed.
The evening before you should:
- Pack your competition bag and have your running clothes ready.
- Check again everything you need to know about the race and the terrain: times, baggage drop-off, toilet location, etc.
- Have picked up your starting documents and attach the number to your running shirt.
On the morning of the competition:
- Get up early so you don’t get into a rush.
- Take your time for your breakfast, because this is where you fill up on the last of your energy reserves.
- Do you not eat anything that you have never eaten before in training? My tip: drink wheat toast with a little butter and honey, half a banana and water. Half an hour before the race, I eat the second half of the banana.
Just before the race:
- Would you rather be too early than late at the event.
- Do you go to the bathroom early again beforehand.
- Take your time for a casual warm-up.
- Position yourself in the starting block according to your target speed.
With these precautions you can start relaxed and relaxed, enjoy your race and get the best out of yourself. You can find more detailed tips in my blog post “The best tips for the last hours before the 1st half marathon competition” or a checklist for packing your competition bag.
5. Lotta & Schorsch
Hello, we are Lotta & Schorsch from tri-it-fit.de and we blog on our site about endurance training and weight training in general as well as triathlon in particular.
In this context, we are of course also at the start of some competitions and have now developed a kind of routine. Because the last days or hours before a competition are extremely important. You don’t want to ruin the competition with the wrong food and destroy weeks or months of hard work.
Good preparation is essential
We usually try to prepare everything in good time.
That means: Check all the material. For us, that means checking your bike again in addition to all your running equipment (shoes, clothing, start number band, etc.).
Do the coats look good, does everything fit with the gearshift or does anything have to be adjusted? Then there are the swimming bags and the division of all competition-relevant things into the three bags that you have to pack for a triathlon. Because the bike gear has to be ready after swimming. And after the bike course, it’s very practical when your running shoes are waiting for you in the transition area!
You see, there is a little more to check in a triathlon than in a run, for example. However, the rest of the preparation so shortly before the race for a triathlon is little different from that for a marathon. We try as best we can to have a lot of rest on the two days before and to go easy on the body. In addition, the food should be balanced and well planned so that nothing is left to chance.
Then all that remains is to set everything up for the morning on race day and to get to the start line as well as possible. You can read exactly how this works in our article on marathon preparation.
One thing is certain: If you go into a race rested and stress-free, you have a better chance of achieving your goals. However, to this day we haven’t even been able to implement our ideal of the perfect two days before the competition.
Something never works.
Maybe you have to plan that too!
My conclusion on perfect competition preparation
One thing is clear after reading the expert tips: There is no such thing as perfect preparation for a competition without ifs and buts. Different things are particularly important for everyone.
But with the tips from this article you can get really close your perfect competition preparation . However, it only becomes even more perfect through your own (competition) experiences.
What will I primarily take away from it:
- I learned from Torsten that rituals are important and that you should make sure you have enough carbohydrates before your competition.
- Oliver showed what you should have with you when it comes to a competition and how important it is to warm up properly.
- From Nadin I take away that mental preparation – keyword: visualization – as well as a certain basic tension on the day of the competition are important.
- Mandy wrote about the importance of staying relaxed and gave you specific tips for the evening before, the morning of the competition and just before the race.
- Lotta and Schorsch rely on a lot of regeneration and rest before the competition and attach great importance to preparing the equipment so that nothing is left to chance on the day of the competition.
I wish you a lot of fun in your next competition and hope that you will achieve your goals. But even more important – and this tip came from all the experts – enjoy your run as best you can!