Final Week Before Your Race: To-Do List & Running Tips

Eine Frau läuft auf einer Laufbahn

Only 7 more days to go. You’re bursting with motivation and energy, yet you’re supposed to be tapering to improve your performance. Your body has to be fit and able to give its best. We have a checklist with some tips on how to prepare for race day, keep focused, motivated & maintain your confidence on your way to the starting line.

Group of people running on the street.

7 days to go: Recovery

Time for your muscles to regenerate. If you stretch your muscles to the limit right before the start, metaphorically speaking, you risk tired and exhausted muscles on race day, which would be rather counterproductive. Even if it’s hard not to train during the last week – make sure you only head out for some relaxing, slow runs.

6 days to go: Powerful mint

Add mint leaves to your water during the last few days leading up to the race. Mint is said to boost your power.

5 days to go: Fuel for your muscles

Provide your muscles with sufficient energy before the race. Potatoes, pasta, rice, bread & couscous are great sources of fuel. Carbohydrates should account for 65-70% of your diet during this time.

P.S. Combine your carbs with high-quality protein and save on fats for the best results. Even if your scale shows a few pounds more, don’t panic! When eating more carbs, your body also stores more water.

a guy who drinks water while running

4 days to go: No experimenting

Now is not the right time for experiments. Opt for foods you know your body can tolerate and avoid new stuff. Check out the new Indian place around the corner after race day. You don’t want to upset your stomach!

3 days to go: Bake cookies

Prepare for the energy dips during your run with power cookies. They’re made of oats, chia seeds and bananas & provide you with lots of energy. Put them in a small bag and bring them along in your pocket, sports armband or waistband. Take a few minutes to make them 3 days ahead of race day.

2 days to go: Final planning

Now’s the time to mentally prepare for your running route. Check it out virtually, e.g. on Google Maps, or drive along the planned route with your bike if the route is close by. Split it in different sections, roughly plan your desired split times and find the best spots for your friends to cheer you on in case they stop by on race day. Remember that you’ll need some motivation throughout the entire race, not only right before the finish line. There’s nothing better than some friends cheering you on when your legs start feeling tired.

People running a marathon

1 day to go: Ready, set,…

  • Check out the weather forecast for the next day, choose your optimal running gear & pack it in your bag (our equipment checklist may help).
  • Cut your toenails to prevent bruises and discomfort.
  • Charge your phone so you can track with your Runtastic app.
  • Fetch your bib the evening before the race, enjoy a plate of pasta there (not too late though, you don’t want to go to sleep with a full stomach) and chat with fellow runners. Your best bet is pasta with tomato sauce, as it’s comparatively low in calories.
  • Sleep 7 to 9 hours to allow your body to regenerate and get top fit.

Race day: …go!

  • Make sure you’re up and awake at least 3 to 4 hours before the starting pistol is fired for your metabolism to get active.
  • Men: Tape your nipples to avoid friction with your shirt.
  • Put some vaseline on certain body parts that might rub against each other, e.g. armpits, inner thighs, etc.
  • Some runners swear that used socks prevent blisters.
  • Have a pre-run snack – even if you’re not hungry.
  • Focus on hydration 2 to 3 hours prior to the race, but don’t drink too much shortly before the start – you don’t want to have to stop at every toilet. Prepare some sports drinks beforehand, if you choose to bring your own hydration.

Before the start

On really hot or cold days, put some sunscreen or a rich, oil-based cream on exposed body parts like arms and legs.

Optional: Store your DIY sports drinks at different water stations (and don’t forget to put your name on them!).

  • Go to the bathroom! Keep in mind that most people will do this – so go early enough to ensure you don’t get stuck in line and get stressed out.
  • Slowly trot towards the starting point. That’s an ideal warm-up, by the way. Choose a spot a bit farther behind the starting line to avoid being pushed around at the start.

5 minutes before the starting pistol is fired

  • Hop around and keep your legs moving while waiting for the starting signal to avoid cooling down after your warm-up.
  • Check your shoelaces: Are they laced up well? Play it safe and tie a double knot. Also, you can try this heel lock to prevent blisters:

  • Start your playlist!
  • “I can do this. I will do this.” – motivate yourself.

…and then GO! Don’t forget to track your next run with the Runtastic App 😉

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