Tips for RunWest race day
Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Can Too Coach, Rachel Attenborough’s love for running started when she joined Little Athletics as a six-year-old. She went on to compete at state and national levels.
As a coach she enjoys being a part of the journey seeing individuals achieve their goals physically and mentally. Her motivational quote is: ‘Anything is possible with a little bit of nerve’ J.K Rowling.
Rachel’s race day tips
Whether you’re an elite athlete or you’re doing your first 12km fun run it’s important to pace yourself.
One of the biggest mistakes any runner can make is to run too fast in the first couple of kilometres. It’s very easy to get caught up in the emotion and adrenaline of everyone around you at the start. Usually this leads to runners fatiguing earlier than expected as they can’t maintain that speed. Run at a comfortable pace at the start (you will still be running faster than you think!) so you can maintain that pace throughout the race.
I’d encourage starting the race at a lower to moderate intensity, where you can maintain a conversation to being able to speak one or two words whilst running. You don’t want to be at such a high intensity where you can’t talk at all.
Make sure your body’s ready to participate in exercise by warming up before your race. Try and replicate the warm ups you’ve done at Can Too training sessions with some running and dynamic drills like high knees and butt kicks but stay away from stretches unless they’re dynamic ones – where you’re moving such as leg swings.
Don’t warm up too early, not an hour or more from the start time, so you stay nice and warm and ready for exercise rather than getting cold especially on a fresh morning. Doing a warm up for five minutes or more 30 mins before start time is ideal and make sure you find time to go to the bathroom before making it to the start line.
The aim is to negatively split your race, meaning that you complete the second half of the race faster, even a little bit, than the first. If you’ve paced your run well, you will have the energy and drive to finish strong.
Break the distance up into two 6km runs and when you reach over half way make your pace per kilometre a bit faster or the same as your first half of the race.
Be mindful of how quickly you’re running by monitoring you’re pace with your Garmin or watch. You will work out your target pace along with a race plan and strategy with your coach during your Can Too program.
You’ve done your training through the Can Too program, including the long runs so you know that you can run for that amount of time and distance, so have the confidence that you know you can do it.
Use your confidence to your advantage, in the later part of race, build on the momentum of other runners around you and your fellow Can Tooers to help each other finish strong.
Depending on your race plan, energy boosts (e.g. gels, fruits etc) might be of benefit particularly if you’re racing over 90 mins. These are generally consumed during the race where water is also available with the aim to replenish your energy stores.
But don’t try anything new on race day!
It’s important to practice your nutrition during the Can Too program as everyone reacts differently so you’re not trying anything new on race day.
Energy boosts may not be required if you are able to have a sufficient breakfast prior to long runs. Race day nutrition is very individualised, and your coach can provide some suggestions throughout the program.
What to eat on race day
Examples of race day breakfasts (make sure you practice during training) is toast with Vegemite or peanut butter or oats, fruit and milk or a banana depending on how much time there is between breakfast and the race.
Everyone gets a little bit nervous, having the confidence in knowing your body and that you’ve put the work in helps. Nerves can be adrenalin boost so remember your pacing (see point 1. above) to not go out too strong. You can also lean on your other Can Tooers for support and encouragement. Doing a warm up will help settle nerves a little bit. Remember it’s a fun run it’s meant to be fun!