By Hayden Shearman // With just a week to go till race day I have good news and bad news for you.
First the bad news … don’t tell all the people sprinting up and down Oriental Parade but it’s kinda too late to start increasing the training. Anything too strenuous that you do between now and Sunday 22 February will likely just make your legs feel heavier on race day.
Now for the good news … you can pretty much take it easy for the remainder of your training block for Cigna Round the Bays. Yay!
By cutting back on your training (or “tapering” as it is called) your body will freshen up and rebuild itself after all the training stress you’ve put it under. With tapering you should be able to go faster on race day than you otherwise would if you were in the midst of hard training.
So here’s how to go about your taper:
Final Long Run
I say long run but this should actually be NO more than half the distance of the longest run you have done over the past couple of months. Run it on the Sunday a week before the race and make sure it’s genuinely easy and on the flat. As mentioned last week, it’s a great opportunity to try running at the same time of day as the race and wearing the same gear.
Locations: Wellington foreshore (from the CBD all the way around to Red Rocks on the south coast), Hutt River Trail, Rimutaka Incline, Pauatahanui Inlet and Plimmerton foreshore.
Race Pace Practice
On Tuesday or Wednesday head down to your local athletics track (or other measured circuit) and warm up jogging for 15mins. Then, if you’re running the half marathon, run 3-4k at exactly your goal race pace. Learn this speed and imagine yourself on Sunday slotting straight into that speed when the starter’s gun fires. If you’re doing the 6.5k or the 10k at Cigna Round the Bays, do 3x1k at your goal race pace with a 400m light jog in between each.
Locations: Newtown Park, ASB Sports Centre (Kilbirnie—look for the track around the outside of the complex), Karori Park (the limestone trail around the perimeter is 985m so basically a kilometre), Petone Rec, Trentham Memorial Park, Tawa College, and Adventure Park (Whitby).
I’ve gone over these in a previous post but the idea is to, on Thursday or Friday before the race, head out for a short easy-paced run and finish it off with 3x20sec strides at nice brisk pace—one that doesn’t exhaust you but lets you feel fast and strong, practicing good running form. Jog for 60secs after each 20sec stride. These will help to put a bit of spring in your step come Sunday.
Locations: Your favorite local park or flat hard-packed sand beach.
Apart from the three runs I’ve discussed above, try to minimize the training you do this week in order for your body and mind to freshen up. Use the extra time you have to head to the beach or cinemas or cafe! And don’t do the whole carb-loading pre-race pasta party thing, because your reduction of exercise will increase your glycogen stores naturally. Save the celebration meal for after the race!
Take a few moments this week to sit down and sort out all the things that need to happen to get you to the start line, wearing the things you are supposed to wear. Plan when you’ll pick up your race pack, plan your transport to and from the race, arrange baby sitters, and think about any running gear you might need purchased or washed.
The night before the race lay out all your gear that you will both wear and take to the race. From timing chips to undies and race numbers to charged GPS watches—get it all out ready to be put on or in the car when you roll out of bed. This helps give you a much better sleep the night before.
Seriously, at this stage, this is the most important advice I can give you! Decide to enjoy every moment of your racing experience. No matter their speed or their running experience, every runner out there on Sunday 22 February is a celebration of life and of healthy active lifestyles. You are a vital part of that celebration so strap a big smile on your face and get amongst the party!