It's time for one of our favorite 5k's this weekend, Smiles For Sophie Forever Bash N' Dash on July 4th in Avon Lake, Oh!
Some of you have been training hard with us for the last few weeks to run your FASTEST 5k! You really want to make sure you do the right things this week leading up to the race.
I used to think that tapering the week before would help me freshen up and perform better, but I've actually found the opposite to be true. I peak during my second week back from a taper. So I've found that keeping my workouts the same during race week helps me feel strong and powerful on race day.
Below are a few of my race week DO'S and DON'TS that will help you maximize your 5k performance this weekend:
1. DO RUN 30/30's ON WED.
If you've been following my TO THE MAX FASTEST 5K PROGRAM and have done these before, then do them again on Wednesday. You run fast for :30 seconds then you rest for :30 seconds and you repeat for 20 sets. Your leg muscles will remember this speed on Saturday and you'll feel like you can maintain this power the entire race.
2. DO RUN 10 MINUTES AT A MEDIUM PACE ON FRIDAY NIGHT.
This is a secret I've been practicing for a few years now. On Friday night, usually sometime between the 4-9pm window, I'll head out for a nice medium paced 10 minute run. It's not fast but it's not slow. It keeps my muscles loose, blood flowing, and my heart primed and ready to go the next morning.
3. DO MIND-MAP YOUR RACE FOR 3 MINUTES.
I personally believe that thinking too much will hinder your performance. However, you do have to spend at least a few minutes visualizing your game plan. Here's what I want you to map out in your head:
a. The start. Where are you placing yourself? How fast are you starting off? When are you settling into your pace?
b. The wall. How will you push through when you hit it? For me it's the start of mile 2. I'm always like how the heck am I going to keep this pace for another 2 miles!? And the response has to be, just do it.
c. The finish. You better believe you are finishing this race strong. You've trained your butt off to run your fastest. I know it's painful but in a few more minutes you're done and you get to enjoy the day. Crush it!
4. DO SLEEP GREAT.
It's especially important to get your sleep this week. I know it's hard but be honest, some of you do it to yourselves. If you have kids, I know it's not very likely. But fight for those 7.5-8 hours/night as much as possible this week. I'm convinced that if you spent some time learning the vital role that sleep plays in your performance and results, you would be convinced to do whatever you could to sleep more.
5. DO JOG YOUR JITTERS OUT BEFORE THE STARTING BLOCK.
It's really hard to run fast from a cold start. I spend even just three minutes jogging a little bit about 10 minutes before the race starts. I even do a few short sprints to get my heart jump started. Being loose, being warm, and breaking a sweat helps prepare your mind and body big time.
6. DON'T WEAR NEW SHOES AND TRY NEW GOOS.
Unless you've worn your shoes a few times and are used to them, don't put a brand new pair on for the first time on race day. It's not guaranteed that you'll get blisters or they'll feel too awkward but you are definitely taking a big chance. Race day is not the time and place to test out new footwear, nor is it the right time to try out new goos or energy blocks. If you haven't tried them before, your stomach may not respond well and you'll end up with discomfort and GI tract issues (i.e. standing in line at the port-a-potty or slowing down during the race from stomach cramps).
7. DON'T CHANGE YOUR DIET NOW.
Unless you are cleaning it up, I wouldn't try any new tricks that you read about on that performance nutrition article that just came across your Facebook feed. Carb loading? I wouldn't go that route either. Keep your diet lean and clean and balanced as usual. I will point out that energy will most likely come from what you ate a few days before rather than that pre-race big pasta dinner the night before. Replenishing glycogen stores is a process and doesn't happen overnight. Peak performance is more about what you're doing days, weeks, and even months leading up to an event, not what you're cramming in last second. It's fun and ok to mix in some carbs as a tradition, but don't stuff yourself! It will slow you down.
8. DON'T DO NEW WORKOUTS OR RUN FASTER THIS WEEK.
Kind of like the premise above in number 7, there's nothing you're going to do this week that is going to enhance your performance other than being smart about your training and keeping things regular. If you've never cycled before, now's not the time to try that new spinning class to see if you like it. And I know your adrenaline is pumping for race day too, but turning up the Rocky tunes as you sprint faster than ever before during your workout this week, isn't going to anything but possibly wear you out and leave your legs feeling trashed. Save it for Saturday.
9. DON'T THINK TOO MUCH.
As I said before, thinking too much can slow you down. Worrying doesn't make you run faster. You've trained. You are prepared physically. Just show up and do your thing. Drop your expectations because honestly, you don't know what to expect. You may wake up too sick to even run that day. Expect only one thing, what we always chant with our kids. "I WILL, BE THE BEST, THAT I, CAN BE." The rest is HIStory.
10. DON'T THINK IT'S THAT BIG OF A DEAL.
Look, of course we want you to rise up and do your absolute best. We should all strive to reach our greatest potential. But think about the bigger picture, is it really that big of a deal? It's a race. There are way more important things in life to be worrying about than our PR times. Remember why we are really there. Sophie has a story. She passed away and now leaving a legacy through her story. Being there on Saturday is bringing us into her story. We contributed to her foundation that will benefit cancer research and other families that are affected by cancer. We are joining together as a community to be apart of something greater than ourselves and show that It's Not About Us. But then we gotta ask ourselves, how will we use Sophie to change how we live out our daily lives? That's the bigger deal we should be worrying about.
Now that I said that, show up and run your heart out.
It may be an absolute game-changer for you and everyone in your life.
It's not about me,