Managing the little things
Championship season is nearly here! With all the great work our athletes have put in so far this season, I wanted to highlight a few "little things" that can really affect how a race goes.
What to eat before a race? The night before, try to stick with carb heavy foods that are easy on the stomach. There are lots of things that work well--pasta or rice with a protein are classics--but it's probably not the best time to try something new (or those super spicy hot wings your friend dared you to eat). On race day, it is best not to eat a bunch of food right before the race. Your food needs time to digest or you might feel sick or get a stomach ache when you run. But it is important to eat! For a morning race, if you have three hours or more until the race, a full, normal breakfast is fine. Things like bagels or toast with nut butter or oatmeal or cereal with milk or yogurt are great. If you only have 1-2 hours until race time, something a little bit smaller is better (granola bar or crackers/toast with peanut butter or oatmeal are again great). If your athlete says they're too nervous to eat race morning, try to get them to nibble on some snacks that are tolerable and drink some sports drink with calories (like Gatorade or the equivalent). For afternoon races, it is similar--a normal (but preferably easy on the stomach) lunch 3+ hours out from the race is good. Just don't eat too much right before the race. Also, we want to make sure to stay well hydrated.
It's getting colder, what to wear? Dress in layers! That way, your athlete can warm up in sweats and then take them off right before the race so they don't get too cold waiting for the race to start. If it is especially cold, a warm hat and gloves are a must.
How to manage race-day nervousness? First off, race-day jitters are totally normal. That sense of pre-race excitement, nervousness, and butterflies in the stomach. These feelings should be embraced--they mean the athlete is excited to race and amped up and the athlete should welcome the added adrenaline and then race with confidence! But for some athletes, they can feel scared, anxious, or sick to their stomach before a race. This is tough and can sabotage performance. And it varies hugely athlete to athlete. An athlete might be too focused on outcome, on what others might think, or on a fear of failure. Or it could be something else entirely. It is important to talk to your athlete to try and unpack what might be causing this sort of anxiety or worry. Feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions on this topic!
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Delta Hawks Coaches