Whether you are entering your first swim event or have been doing it for years, the week leading to the event can be one of the most important. Few of us have the luxury of committing to a week of relaxation and massage before an event, more likely we’ll have a busy week at work, taking the kids to soccer and then get ready for the travel involved in attending any event.
The worst thing you can do is try to do last minute training to eek out those extra few second off of your time. Your body needs rest as well as your mind so when you hit the start line on event day you are relaxed and ready to do your best.
There are many things that you can do in the week leading up to the event that will help make the day an even better one.
So here is our top ten tips for getting to the line ready:
1. Get more sleep – adding an extra hour of sleep each day will help you rest up and get primed for the event. This is especially important, since you’ll most likely be sleepless (or very restless) the night before the race.
2. Drink plenty of fluids – Start hydrating on early in the week, rather than the day before a race. Your body is like a sponge and needs time to absorb the fluids that you’re drinking. Don’t over do it as this will have the opposite effect.
3. Eat plenty of carbohydrate rich foods – As with drinking, you can only stock away so many calories each day. Start increasing the amount of carbohydrates in your meals at the beginning of the week. Rather than have large meals, try eating smaller portions more frequently, this will allow your body to digest the food more efficiently.
4. Avoid alcohol – In the days before the race, you should avoid drinking alcohol. It just dehydrates you. Save it for a post-race celebration.
5. Take your rest days – if your workout schedule calls for rest days, take them. Rest means rest! And don’t decide to dig up that tree, move those blocks and climb a mountain the day before. Take a steady stroll with the dog, maybe a really easy 20min swim to get those muscles ready for the big day.
6. Get a massage – a good massage on the Wednesday or Thursday prior to the race can relax you and loosen you up. This will increase blood flow and increase oxygen in your system. Don’t get a deep massage the day before as this may cause bruising and may effect your performance on the day.
7. Try to relax – Put pre-race anxiety aside by focusing on all of the preparations that you’ve made to get ready for your race.
8. Take a nap the day prior to the race – You’ll most likely have a difficult time sleeping the night before the race, so take a nap in the afternoon. Go to bed early the night before the race, but not more than an hour or two before your normal bedtime, so that you don’t wake up at mid-night and lay awake all night.
9. Have all of your gear prepared the day or two before the race – Get this out of the way. The last thing you want to have to worry about is finding new goggles on the day, trying to borrow a wetsuit or get that special nutrition that is only sold online. Make a list and lay it all out before your pack.
10. Don’t worry! You’ll be fine.
When you hit the big day, don’t rush or worry – if you have followed the list above you should be relaxed and have time to spare. Get to the venue in plenty of time, familiarize yourself with the course and facilities, get bathroom breaks and stowing your gear so you are on the starting ready to swim that PB. Good luck and above all enjoy it!