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Athletic Event Season is Here: Get Ready for Race Day!

The spring and summer seasons are prime time for athletic racing events. If you've been training for weeks or months for an upcoming marathon, triathlon or even a 5k race, don't let race day sneak up on you. Prepare and take the appropriate precautions to ensure you reach your pace or distance goals.

The Week Of: During your home stretch of training, don't overdo it. This close to the race, extra conditioning or training won't improve your pace or distance. Take this time to taper - reduce your weekly mileage so your muscles are fully rested and recovered by race day. Do cut back your mileage, but don't forget to:
  • Continue stretching, even on rest days.

  • Stay hydrated by pushing fluids and avoiding alcohol.

  • Prepare your feet by treating calluses or blisters and trimming toenails.

  • Get adequate sleep. You'll likely be restless the night before the race. Your body will be better able to handle one sleepless night if you're not already operating with a sleep debt.

  • Start increasing your carbohydrate intake about 3 days before the race.

  • The night before, avoid eating high fat, high fiber or highly processed foods. Carbo-loading on pasta 12 hours before the race is a popular choice for many athletes.

  • Make sure you're healthy. Don't put yourself in danger just to complete a race.

The Day Of: Today is the day! You've done all the preparations and today you will see the results of your hard work. Ensure you do your best by:
  • Clear your mind and prepare mentally: If you've done the proper training, the biggest hurdle you're likely to encounter on race day is the mental battle. Prepare your mind and body for the race you're about to start by envisioning the course, the finish line and all the miles in between.

  • Fueling Up: Today is not the day to skip breakfast. Whether you choose liquid nourishment or opt for carbo-rich solids is up to you. But, you'll want some sort of fuel in your tank. You might also want to consider high-carb energy supplements or gels during the race.

  • Checking your equipment: Make sure your shoes, athletic clothing and racing equipment are in tip top shape. Pack your bag ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need before the race starts.

  • Warming up and stretching: This routine is up to you - just don't abandon your normal pre-run preparations.

Post Race: Congrats, you've done it! Keep the momentum going:
  • Cool down to prevent cramps and nausea and resist the urge to stretch immediately.

  • Continue drinking water and fluids with electrolytes such as orange juice.

  • Eat some protein and carbohydrates as soon as possible to refuel your depleted energy stores.

  • Reward yourself! You've just met your goal. Find your friends, family and other supporters and celebrate!

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