By Hayden Shearman // Wowzers, just two weeks till race day! And if you just had a little flutter of nerves in your tummy A) you’re not alone and B) why don’t you settle those nerves with a couple of practice runs over the next 10 days? Here’s how …
There’s something frighteningly unique about standing on the start line with a huge group of fit looking fellow runners while you await the crack of the starter’s gun and wonder whether your timing chips are on properly and whether signing up to this thing was really a smart idea.
If you’ve never been here before, trust me, it’s a nerve-raking experience. And to think we pay for it!
Anyway, to make your experience on Sunday 22 February a smooth one, jump in a somewhat more casual running event to get a feel for what to expect.
Here are a few options in Wellington:
– Wellington Waterfront 5k: 10th and 17th Feb (every Tuesday) $8 from 5pm at Chicago Sports Bar, Queens Wharf, Wellington CBD (more info here).
– parkrun 5k: 7th and 14th Feb (every Saturday) free entry, 8am, either at Lower Hutt, Waikanae or Porirua (more info here—be sure to download and print your barcode).
– The Honest 10k: Sunday 15th Feb (monthly) $10, 9am, Evans Bay wind wand, Kilbirnie (more info here).
– Kapiti Summer Series 5k: Monday 9th Feb (fortnightly) $5, registrations from 5:45pm, Boundary Tap & Kitchen in Raumati (more info here).
– Trentham 5k Series: Tuesday 10th Feb (fortnightly) $5, registrations from 5:30pm, race start 6:30pm, Trentham Memorial Park, Upper Hutt (more info here).
As well as a chance to get a feel for race nerves and arriving on time etc, a race or two before a key race also provides a great final sharpening effect to your training and can set you a good target pace, particularly if you’re running the 10k or 21.1k at the Wellington Cigna Round the Bays (calculate your target time using this calculator).
Tip: Don’t race any more than once per week and for no longer than 10k, otherwise you’ll deaden your legs too much ahead of the all-important 22 February.
As well as a practice race, it’s also a good idea to use a normal training run to practise all the other components that will make your race day a good one. These components include:
- Time of Day: It’s important to practise running at the same time as you will on race day (7:45am Half Marathon, 8:30am 10k, 9:15am 6.5k). The half marathon is early so you’ll want to try out having a light breakfast super early (at least two hours before) and the 6.5k could be quite warm by the time you cross the finish line so work out ways to keep cool.
- Clothing: There’s nothing worse than running half the race with chaffing or blisters from the fancy new technical running top or shoes you bought a day earlier. Avoid this by going for a run or two wearing exactly the same kit (shoes, hat, shorts, top, undies, anti-rub cream, sun screen, nipple plasters, phone strap, fuel belt etc) as you’ll wear on race day and make sure it won’t cause you any problems.
- Nutrition & Hydration: In the summer heat when you’re running for an hour or more you’ll want to be taking onboard some fluids, but to avoid getting the stitch or an upset gut from this on race day it’s always a good idea to practice drinking while running on training runs (even try drinking from the plastic cups that they’ll use on race day—pinch the top of the cup to make an-easy-to-swallow-while-running spout). Also practice what you’ll eat for breakfast before the run—usually something light does the trick like a banana and honey on toast or porridge with berries.
Tip: Having practised your race day routine in training will improve your Round the Bays experience massively and these good emotions will typically lead to you performing your best on the day.
Finally, you’ll definitely want to practise your finish line pose for the cameras by taking a few selfies out on your training runs. And while you’re at it, use the hashtag #runwgtn on social media so you can share your training journey with the rest of the us.