With less than a week to go there is not too much more to do to prepare before your race. You should continue to train but at a reduced effort and distance. Here are three key suggestions for a successful race week.
1) Training Tips With a Week to Go
You should be easing back in your training intensity. You can run a speed workout but your will want to run it at a reduced pace. We usually run at a 10km race pace for our speed workouts, but during race week we run at a slower tempo pace instead during the speed workout. By running at tempo pace we stay out of the intense 10km to 5km pace zones which build up lactic acid. Generally speaking, whatever your usual training paces are you should be easing off.
If you are a high mileage runner you will want to cut your distance in half, and, if you are a moderate distance runner 30km to 60km per week you should run 30km to 40km leading up to the race.
Here is an example of a last week program:
Monday: 3 x 10 minutes at your half marathon pace with a 2 minute break between each 10 minute repeat
Wednesday: 3,2,1,3,2,1,3,2,1 minute repeats at tempo pace (15km race pace) with a 1 minute break between each repeat
Thursday or Friday: 5km to 10km easy pace
Sunday: Race Half marathon or 10km
2) Know Your Pace
From your training over the past several months you should have a good idea of your goal race pace. Stay within your goal race pace plus or minus 5 seconds. It is very tempting at the beginning of a race to start to fast. If you start out too fast you will build up lactic acid too quickly and pay for it later in the race. It is much easier to start out at your goal pace based on your fitness and run the final 2km at a faster pace and its a lot more fun to finish strong. GPS watches are very helpful in pacing especially at the beginning of the race. You should have your 5km splits memorized and know the times your run through each 5km.
3) Fuel Before and During the Race as You Have Done In Training
By now you should have a good idea of a fueling strategy that will work for you. Runners will follow a high carbohydrate diet leading up to race day. Carbohydrates are the best source of fuel for 10km, half marathons and 5km events and most likely you have been working on finding which source of carbs work best for you. Follow the same approach you have on your long runs and workouts. Surprises and bathroom breaks can occur when you try something different the day before a race. If you don’t eat bran muffins and celery sticks for workouts don’t try them the day before a race even if they are free. Eat what you are used to and you will have success.
Be prepared to take on fuel during the race which will help you maintain your goal pace. You can use a sports drink offered on the course. You should be familiar with taking gels during a workout and ready to use them during your race. I suggest carry your own gels that you are used to from training runs.
Have a great race and a fun day!