Race Week Do(s) & Don’t(s)

I think we all countdown to our important favorite races.  We all know that I have personally been counting down to the Palos Half (aka:  Southwest Half Marathon in Palos, IL) since early this week.  Apparently, I’m not the only one so I thought this would be a good time to go through a few  tips for our upcoming race week. 


If you haven’t registered and would like to join the excitement , please register HERE now because the race is almost at capacity!  This is a premier running event on the Southside of Chicago and if you live in the southern suburbs then you are surely to  know ten one or two people racing on May 6th in Palos.  Come run with us.

Entering the weekend before the race, my legs are dead and very tired.  This is a good thing because by cutting back my mileage next week I will be fresh and a bit antsy on the start line.  You want to be antsy, to feel as if you haven’t ran/done enough “this week” when you get up race morning.  This is GOOD and means you are fresh and ready to bust out a fast pace!




Drink lots of fluids – water! Drink a lot of alcohol
Get plenty of sleep Stay up late watching the Twilight Zone TV
Cut back your mileage/workouts Stairmaster, Run 40 miles & Bike Hickory Creek (The Hills!)
Swim & focus on lower intensity activities that keep the blood moving Drown because you are trying to swim 20 miles to make up for “not” running
Run a few easy miles Take the entire week off
Eat some good carbs (whole wheat pasta with veggies & lean protein, non-spicy marinara if you have a sensitive tummy!) Stuff yourself at a pasta dinner the night before the race and use the excuse you are “carb loading”
Stretch & Ice Use heat for sore muscles
Visualize the race & the finish clock with YOUR time Sell yourself short or be afraid of race pace
Plan to take more fuel than you “think” you need to the race Try a new type of fuel or hydration on race day
Charge your iPod & GPS watch Forget your iPod & GPS Watch
Plan for post-race recovery Assume that the race will have what YOU need to recover.  I always have my Post Workout Recovery Drink in my checked bag along with a bagel, banana & water.
Have a confident, positive attitude Freak out or feel as if you didn’t do enough

For me, my race week plan will include:  SAT (4/28) – 10 mile run at an easy pace, SUN – Bike, MON – Swim, TUE – 2-3 miles with fast turnover, WED – easy 6 miles, THUR  rest, FRI – easy 3 miles, SAT- Rest, SUN – RACE.

I have to keep it very low key the week before a race so that I’m fresh.  I have arrived on the start line ready to race mentally many a times and then quickly realized that my body was not recovered enough to hit the times.  What do you do for race week; anything special?  Do you have any race week tips?  Help us out!

Happy Running & Racing,                                                                                              Amanda – TooTallFritz

17 thoughts on “Race Week Do(s) & Don’t(s)

  1. Do: Lay out a cute outfit a few days before the race. You want to look good in those pictures! 🙂
    Don’t: Leave it to the last minute and realize that your cute, matching clothes are dirty.

  2. This is great Amanda! So many great ideas! I would maybe add two other tips to this list…

    The weather… No need to over-obsess about the perfect conditions, but mentally prepare for a best and worst case scenario. I like to have a few outfit choices laid out so that race morning, I can make up my mind based on the weather and bring other things if necessary. (I hate scrambling around on race morning looking for my favorite running capris!) I think it is important to have a Plan B that you can adjust to in case weather conditions are not ideal (rain, extreme heat, extreme cold, etc.)

    Also, if it is supposed to be a scorcher, for a longer race (half marathon +), it is good to increase your salt intake a few days before a race with pretzels, nuts, or other salty snacks to help your body better absorb your water intake on race day. I am a sweat fiend so this is something that I have to take seriously so I don’t get dehydrated (aka CM 2011).

  3. LOVE the list! Your race is the same weekend as the marathon I’ve been gearing up for. I did a half marathon last weekend as a “test” to see what type of pace I should shoot for. I like to be very rested before, so my training in the next week will be: Friday- 10 miles, Saturday 6, Sunday 3-5, Monday easy day with my trainer, Wednesday something lame like stretching with my trainer, Thursday easy swim lesson with my swim group. Friday and Saturday off.

    I agree about cute outfits! A must! Since my race is “away,” I will also be bringing throwaway gloves and a throwaway sweatshirt in case it is cold that morning. And I am obsessive about hydration for the 3 days leading up to the race.

  4. Yikes….ya asking me what to do for taper before race so close to race? I can tell you some things I do…way different than most…but then I am a Coach and quite experienced marathoner….so I know what works for me!

    Most that know me most closely can’t believe I drink beer the night before. Not a lot…just some while getting things ready….doing my ritual….the beer the ritual in some respects….nothing I ain’t done all my life. That’s the key point TTF making….don’t do what ain’t part of your normal training or normal life regimen.

    Absolutely…unequivocably….you don’t stuff yourself the night before on the guise as carb-loading. Any coach or experienced marathoner knows you can’t carb-load in a single 24-hr period before the race, but it is a process of 3-4 days prior to race where you really boost carb-intake.

    You see a lot about rest before the race, but ya know I am doing 4-mile runs before each and every Boston Marathon I did….and not run easy….the first mile warm-up easy, the last 3 running pace and the last 6-min threshold pace and beyond to almost all-out the last 1/4. Then…cool down…stretch…and go eat my last solid meal…this usually ca noon the day before marathon day.

    The key for this to work for me is that the total training volume, or distance run the entire week is so nominal compared to the miles run up to 3-weeks prior. There is nothing to say you can’t run some runs briskly or at race pace before the race….just not very long. This keeps you sharp and the reminds the muscle memory in the leg and your brain too….just what it means to run race pace.

    Do this correctly….and you will toe-up at your start position rearing to go. Those that know me the most from running with me or rooming with me or checking how I fare….know that I usually show-up on race day and run the race I trained to run and run it at goal speed.

    Sometimes the weather or other conditions don’t work in your favor….then the race becomes one of making adjustments….and if you do it correctly….you don’t fade or become the “walking-dead” but merely run on and to the finish at a less than goal race pace.

    Do’s and dont’s….not a big fan of….but then again…TTF is thinking of all of you that are new to the run game and don’t have all that experience under your belt yet. So….you don’t do the “don’ts” and stick with the “do’s” and after you run enough distance races….ya will come to discover what works best for you.

    But…by no means….in any race distance from 5k to marathon…no matter how good you feel….do not start out at blistering pace…..you need to start conservatively and allow the physiology to adjust and/or the brain be convinced you are in this for long-distance. When you do that correctly….you minimize metabolism of glycogen reserves and you convince the brain/body to convert that fat to free-fatty acids and start circulating it in the bloodstream for the muscles to take advantage of. And when you accomplish that you will feel the surge…find yourself running faster pace but feeling easy. I think that is what is meant by “2nd wind” but most apply that to end of race. I think it is the latter….patience and wait for fat-metabolism to kick-in….then you run your race pace.

    It is nothing more than I have done each and every year I ran Boston Marathon. You can go look at those results and maybe that will convince you I have discovered something here in running distance at peak performance. But…ya all don’t have to worry bout peak performance…just run the race against yourself and cross the line feeling strong….that’s all I care about any runner….not about time…not about pace….but crossing that line feeling strong and like ya can keep on running…even if only a little bit farther.

    The test is if you come in and cross the line you holding nice, upright running form….got your arms up in the air in victory…..and those rear legs/heels kicking butt as you come into the finish line. Like Boonsom Hartman….put your lipstick on and finish looking good (it can work for men too if you paraphrase and just understand the meaning).

    Sorry for length….just run your race….that’s all one has to do!


  5. Pingback: The Week of The Big Race …… | TooTallFritz

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