Lauren Wallace is just coming off of her first National Championship this weekend in the 1000m at the USATF Indoor Championship in Boston, MA. Have you watched the race?! You have to watch it, her final kick will inspire you to keeping fighting all the way to the line! We wanted to know how Lauren prepares for race day. I mean, why not learn from the best? Here are her top 5 pieces of advice for preparing for your next race.
WRITE IT DOWN
Every race is an opportunity to showcase your fitness. I think it is important to know what the overall goal of your race is and then make sure you know how to get yourself there. The night before a race, I will write out my race day schedule, including eating, napping and warm up times. I will right out cues to focus on during the race as well and then visualize myself doing them. Then I follow up with an inspirational quote or mantra. Lately, I’ve been writing out a quote from the novel “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel – “We fight and fight and fight. We fight no matter the cost of battle, the losses we take, the improbability of success. We fight to the very end. It’s not a question of courage. It’s something constitutional, an inability to let go. It may be nothing more than life-hungry stupidity.”
This is an obvious one. But I have learned both from experience and from second hand horror stories, that hydrating correctly is paramount. When you think about hydrating, you automatically think good ole fashioned H2O. But, you can actually consume too much water and make yourself feel flat. Your body will end up flushing out all the needed electrolytes when you solely drink water. My go to is Pedialyte. It is for babies, I know, but it works magically and doesn’t have all the sugar that regular sports drinks have.
Always. Period. Pre-race nerves often keep athletes tossing and turning the nights leading up to the race. One of my tricks is treating race day and the days leading up to the race, if I am extremely nervous, as if they are any other day. Race day doesn’t begin (mentally), until after I wake up from my nap on race day. This ensures that I am getting adequate sleep and not wasting mental energy stressing about my performance come race day.
SHAKE IT OUT
Race morning shakeouts are a wonderful thing. I will always get in a race morning shakeout (unless of course, my race is in the morning) to wake my body up. Sitting around all day the hours leading up to a race always make me feel pretty flat. My shakeouts are generally around 10-15 minutes of jogging at an easy pace. Then I will do some dynamic drills like A-skips, B-skips and quick leg cycles to get my muscles feeling ready to go.
Practice your race day routine before you race. This is often overlooked. A lot of athletes feel as though they need to change routine in order to perform well on race day. It is important to find out what works best for you, and hopefully not finding that out the hard way. Practicing your race day routine the week prior to race day ensures that if you have anything you need to tweak, you will have time to do so. For example, if I am racing in the evening, I will push one of my workouts back to race time so I can rehearse eating, napping and warm-up prior to having to play around with it on the day.