David’s running column week 7

David Eckersley

The Mulberry Bush Montessori Balfron 10k is almost upon us. The date for your diary is Sunday, April 24, 11am at Balfron High School. If you haven’t already done so, sign up now!

The last week before the race is the time to reduce the volume of your training. If Sunday is your long run day then on the last Sunday before the race reduce your distance by a third. During the week do your last faster session on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

In the last two to three days reduce your training right down to a few easy runs with 6 x 100m faster strides to keep the legs loose and ready to go on 10k day. During this period of tapering before a race it is often difficult to get the right balance between rest and activity. You may be a little nervous or anxious about the race and in turn you may feel your body has extra energy. This is natural and tells you your body is getting ready for the big run.

Try to get some extra sleep in this last week but avoid over eating as this will make you feel sluggish.

I still find the last 2-3 days before a big race difficult but after many years of racing I have learnt to calm down and be a little more chilled. As a young runner I was so nervous I often made myself ill.

This obviously needs to be avoided at all costs so here are a few tips to help reduce pre-race nerves.

*Bear in mind that some nervousness is a positive thing and helps get your body and mind prepared for the effort ahead.

*Where possible plan the last few days. Keep yourself busy but do not overdo things.

*Plan your route to the venue, taking into account any roadworks which might affect your arival time. Check out where to park beforehand.

*Make sure your running kit, shoes, safety pins ( the Balfron 10k organisers do provide them if you forget yours!) and lucky charm are packed the night before. Take extra clothes to change into after the race especially if wet. Pack extra dry socks and warm clothes to warm up. Get last-minute snacks and water organised.

*Get to the race with plenty of time. This allows you to get your race number and check details about the course such as where the start, finish and water stations are. Personally I like to get to a race no later than an hour before the start then I begin warming up with about 45-50 minutes to go.

*Check out where the toilets are when you arrive at the venue. Pre-race nerves means the toilets are always busy so don’t leave it until five minutes before the race starts before visiting.

Next week I will look at more pre race preparation and the all-important last supper. Good luck with your training.

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