5 Things that Can Ruin Your Race Day
The runs and exercises you have been doing make you feel great. On the day of the race, at the starting line, you are very confident and have high hopes, aiming for nothing but the best. Although everything might have been perfect while training, a race day may turn out very differently and destroy your whole plan. A lot of factors may cause a running day to be catastrophic. In all this, it is crucial that you keep an open mind. Factors that can ruin race day include:
It is one of the main factors that can ruin a race day since it cannot be controlled by anyone. It is important to assess the weather before a race, so that, in the case of any foreseen danger, you can postpone your run to a later date when the weather is a lot more accommodating. In cold weather, activities such as shivering will consume some of your energy that would have otherwise been used for running.
On the other hand, in the presence of heat, your body will achieve cooling through sweating. Perspiration cools the body by removing extra heat by evaporating it. When the race day is humid, it will lead to sweating and hence end up losing fluid and causing dehydration. Losing 2 percent in weight will automatically decrease your performance. Additionally, high temperatures also lead to an increased heart rate, this means as the temperatures continue to rise you will use more energy. Another effect of high temperatures is that it reduces blood volume, and as a result less oxygen gets transported to the muscles hence less energy for running is produced.
Starting Too Fast
It is understandable that you are enthusiastic about a race that you have been preparing for, but initiating a race at full speed is not recommended because as the race continues, you start slowing down. It is crucial that you find a running rhythm and let your pace grow as you go. The trick is to go faster in the second half than the first half. Hence, it is important that during your training, you teach your body to adapt to the right pace so that you can tell during your race day.
In races that offer pace groups, they usually have a leader who sets the appropriate pace for the race. Another way of setting your pace, is running with a GPS watch that constantly shows what pace you are running at, whether it is too slow or fast. So putting time into your training does not count if you execute the race inappropriately, and it will block you from achieving your goal.
Trying New Things
This may cost you a race you have been preparing and anxiously waiting for. A lot of runners, even those with the most experience do this, and it never ends well. It may be:
- Trying new fuel on race day. For starters, do not wear newly bought shoes or eat something you have never eaten before.
- No new fueling products. You may be used to taking the plain PowerBar Gel during training and then decide to change to Vanilla yogurt during the race, and this may cause stomach discomfort that will prevent you from winning the race.
- Believing in a pacer too much. While pace groups are highly beneficial, a group pacer who leads you the wrong way might cost you your race. So make sure the pace that he/ she is pacing for you suits your running.
It is crucial to make sure you are fueled properly for your race. Healthy foods with high calories and nutrients help you to properly fuel your running as energy levels and alertness is increased. Junk food provides less energy and will cause fatigue which will greatly affect your performance. The wrong type of food will also leave you bloated and uncomfortable.
Unhealthy foods also reduce blood flow that is required to provide energy for the muscles. These foods are full of Trans and Hydrogenated fats. When consumed, they restrict the blood vessels from pumping blood correctly which makes running much harder.
So for positive results, you can eat nutrient dense foods. Carbohydrates such as: sweet potatoes, fruits, veggies and brown rice will give you energy; while protein such as: meat and fish rebuild the body and restores muscle that will help in increasing your performance in races. Last but not least, you should make sure you are properly hydrated before and after the race.
In some instances, it so happens that the race goes the opposite of what you had expected. A race can be distracted by many reasons, no matter how hard you had trained, and even having a great strategy for the race. It is important that you also have a contingency plan because anything could happen. Things such as bad weather, or twisting an ankle are out of your control. Otherwise, you can create a flexible plan to prevent and solve misfortunes that have occurred.
First and foremost, it is relevant that you have a positive attitude. It will assist you in dealing with bad races and help you bounce back.
Preparing mentally will help a lot. Ask yourself a couple of questions like, will be weather be cold or hot? What will you wear for the race?. This will help you maintain calm and still run in a chaotic environment.
A backup plan when things go wrong will help you adjust your expectations so as to resume the race comfortably. If you started slow but the crowds keep slowing you down even more, you can increase your pace to make up for the lost time. In a humid weather, you can use the temperature calculator to adjust your pace to account the levels of heat.
It is also advisable to turn off your watch.
Constantly looking at the time can frustrate and discourage you, both physically and mentally. The most significant thing you can do when something goes wrong is to stay composed and patient. Panicking will only create more chaos.
There you have it,5 things that can ultimately ruin your race day!