A Week Before Race Day: Here’s What To Do

To those running the 36th Milo marathon and 21k distances for the first time, good luck on your race this coming July 29th! Milo is reputed to be the biggest and most prestigious foot race in the country and i’m sure many first time runners will aim to achieve a respectable time and hopefully qualify for the finals this December.

Many i know are beginning to feel antsy just a week away from this race and probably are feeling the butterflies hanging in their tummies. This is normal and it may be good as you’re taking the upcoming effort seriously and bodes well for the outcome. However, too much anxiety may also do the reverse for you and may result to sleepless nights coming into the race.  What’s to do then? By taking care of last- minute training preparations.

I’ve prepared some simple guide to do for the week before the race and this comes with my own and many other veteran runners’ experiences to keep you calm and focused.

  • Cramming on your training at the last week–we all know that this is counter-productive and pushing for more intensity on your last few runs will only result on more stress and exhaustion come race day. Proper tapering is key specially for those doing the marathon. Running during this week should be mostly EASY and should include some light cross-training and even walking for the last few days.
  • If you’re going to do some speed work, i suggest doing some short strides of 100 to 300 meters at 70% of full speed with a lot of easy running in between. It helps to maintain your form and leg turn-over that you developed during your training. But this should be done sparingly and with caution.
  • Nourish, hydrate and carbo-load. Loading with complex-carbohydrates 2-3 days before race day will provide you fuel on race day and will fend-off feelings of fatigue. Stay hydrated the week before, alternating water with sports and other nutritional drinks. Avoid drinking alcohol a few days before the race as it will just cause dehydration specially if the weather will be hot.
  • Many will be familiar with the Milo route already so try to make strategies for some segments of the race course like “this is where i’ll step-up the pace” or ‘ i’ll walk when i reach the uphill of this bridge and zoom past it on my way back” etc.
  • Try to run segments of the route for familiarity. Before i did the T2N 50K Ultra last May, me and my team-mates ran the first 32k in practice just to get the feel of it and strategize what parts of the route we would slow down and where we would pick-up the pace.
  • Prepare your gear 2 nights before race day. This will give you ample time to decide what to wear, what energy gels and bars to bring on the starting line. Don’t wear anything new on race day.
  • Seek the comfort of others, your teammates, runner friends who will be doing the same race. Run with them during the last few days and offer support and encouragement.
  • Try to have a good night’s sleep on Friday night as you may have trouble sleeping the night before the early Sunday morning race. Stay calm and relaxed. Watch some TV or read a book.
  • On the race itself, pace yourself! Hold back in the beginning (wag mang gigil!) and don’t get carried away by the others who are going out too fast! Go out on a slower pace than you plan to run the whole race. This will give you more chances of improving on the second half of the race thus increasing your chances of finishing strongly.

There are many other ways to prepare yourself and this is just some of what i have learned in the past.

Good luck to all MILO runners and i hope you sleep well the night before the race!