The Day Before Competition
DRIVE OVER THE COURSE FOR A FINAL TIME,
PAYING SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE LAST SECTION OF THE RACE
Even if you know the course very well and have visualized yourself running it, you should still drive the course one last time, paying special attention to the last
Section. As you drive the course, again imagine how you will feel on race day as you run the various sections, and remind yourself of the positive self-statements that you will use as you become progressively more tired.
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A disconcerting experience for any runner is to have the race interrupted by an unscheduled “pit stop.” The emotion of the moment combined with a few hours of hard running will shake loose even the most resolute bowels.
One way to avoid a pit stop is to ensure that your intestine is empty before the race. This is achieved by eating only highly refined, low-bulk carbohydrate foods that leave little residue (e.g, white bread, cookies, sweets, rice, and potatoes) for the last 16 to 24 hours before the race.
Recently, I have begun to suspect that another reason many runners have to visit the toilet during marathon races is because they have very mild forms of milk or other food intolerances. Sheehan (1975) was the first to observe that the stress of competitive running caused some athletes to have gastrointestinal disturbances, which were prevented if the athlete avoided milk or other dairy products either completely or for the last 24 hours before competition. I have cured my own racing pit-stop problems in this way and have helped others with this simple advice. It is also possible that intolerance to other foods, such as gluten, may be the problem.
ASSEMBLE YOUR RUNNING GEAR THE NIGHT BEFORE AND ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE EVERYTHING
Pin your race numbers to your vest and drape the vest on a chair near your bed. Seeing your racing numbers on awakening will help motivate you. Pack a gym bag with petroleum jelly, toilet paper, extra safety pins, any food supplements you require during the race, and a snack for after the race. Also include alternate clothing, in case of weather changes before or during the race, a change of shoes, and clothing for after the race. If you are unsure whether or not water will be provided at the start of the race, also pack a bottle of water.
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