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Pre-Race:

  • If this is your first stab at a 10k it’s important to use your training to gauge your race expectations. 10k is just about long enough that setting off too fast can have catastrophic consequences towards the end. You don’t need to run a full 10k in your training but a long easy run of at least 8k is advisable and get in a couple of 5k runs that are run at your desired 10k race pace to get a marker on whether that pace is sustainable.
  • 10k is a distance that can put a lot of strain on the body. It’s a really good habit to start your stretching programmes as early as possible. Grabbing a foam roller or other massage tools can be even more valuable to weary and sore muscles. Also, check your feet after long runs and check for hot spots or blisters. If you can find these things early enough then you still have time to check your footwear solution before the race.
  • If you’re shooting for a PB then it’s a really good idea to go for a couple of runs on the race course. Knowing the turns and the little bumps in the roads can help you manage your effort and know where to push harder or back off before it’s too late

 

Morning of the Race:

  • You need a hearty breakfast however the timing of this can be crucial. You need to allow for full digestion but you don’t want to get hungry before the race either. One good meal one and a half to 2 hours before the race is ideal, however, timing of this meal can be very specific to every individual so practising this before a couple of training runs can help identify your optimum time to eat. Keep your fluids topped up in the last hour before the race too but again practice this to avoid any unnecessary stops.
  • It’s a bit of a taboo subject but going to the loo properly can make or break your run! It was previously thought that caffeine helps kick start things but the latest research has proven that any hot beverage, even water, has the same effect. Failing that, having a small 10-15minute warm up jog will invariably do the job.
  • Arrive early. You have trained hard and prepared for this so enjoy the atmosphere that a race environment brings. Feeling the energy and feeding off that can be extremely motivating and help you to push on faster and further than you realised you were capable of.

 

During the Race:

  • The extra race morning energy and motivation can sometimes be bad for one thing…starting too fast! Every minute you run faster than your ability over the first half of the race can cost you time at the end of the race. Hold back a little over the first 5-10 minutes; allow the oxygen to flow and the blood to be pumped to the body properly before increasing the pace to your race level.
  • Depending on your race time, taking an energy gel can be very valuable. If you have eaten correctly then you will have enough energy stores to get you through the race but sometimes you can crash slightly in the back half of the race so a little pick me up can do wonders for your overall run time and happiness.
  • Latch on to a group or individual that looks to be running around your goal time. When you feel low, just sticking with that group can help drag you along. Sometimes focussing on sticking with other people can help you forgot about how much of the race you have left to run!

 

After the Race:

  • As soon as you finish ensure you immediately hydrate and get a small snack. The first 20 minutes post run is known as a super compensation period where the body is very open and accepting of food and fluids. Using this time will help you recover faster so you can enjoy the rest of the day.
  • Stretch and use your foam roller. It’s not uncommon to feel muscle soreness 3 days after a 10k but having a stretch out and/or a massage can help work out the pains and aches much faster.
  • Don’t immediately enter your next race. In the post run euphoria and once the pain has gone, we often start planning the next race. Allow yourself time to digest and assess you run and more importantly enjoy your achievement.



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