Are you preparing for your best racing performance in ADHM (20 Oct, 2019) or One Race - Super Singh Run on (Dec 8, 2019)?

There are various standard routines and disciplines in terms of physiological guidance, not focus of this article, you must already know like (a-f):

a. Proper Running Posture (Keep your body relaxed and straight) and Running Technique (Land soft on the foot - it is important where you land than how you land - your feet should land directly under your body).

b. Speed-Plays of high and low intensity training like HIIT, Interval, Tempo, Fartlek and Sprints (usually 8 to 12, between 50 and 200 meters each) to improve athletic endurance, acceleration technique, lactate threshold and VO2max.

c. Cross Training like swimming and cycling; Yoga to improve flexibility in joints and balance, Core-Strengthening through planks, mountain climbers, Resistance training to improve muscle strength and endurance, Stretching and Foam rolling to improve muscle fatigue and soreness. Also try running on alternate tracks including treadmill, hill, sand, beach, parks whatever you can find nearby.

d. Nutrition (Protein-rich diet is essential for developing and keeping muscle strength) and hydration.

e. Belly Breathing — fill the diaphragm, not the chest, with air on each inhale.

f. 3R Formula - Resting for Recovery and Repair.

Now, there are 5 important psychological and Skill Tactics that we often miss to train our mind that trains our body. Believe it or not, racing is a skill; and, just like a basketball player practices by shooting free throws, you can become a better racer and improve your performance by brushing up on your racing tactics.

By nature, our bodies are pre-programmed to stop doing things that hurt. Stress the heart, lungs, and legs enough and your mind is going to try and prevent you from continuing to push hard. Therefore, it is critical that you have specific strategies in place to help you continue to push when the brain is urging you to stop.

Here are 5R 'Easy-to-Implement Racing you can use to reach your potential on race day:

1. Read and Speak the Positive Language
The first step to racing well and pushing through mental barriers is to be prepared mentally.

Letting negative thoughts creep into your mind is a critical mistake many runners make. Whether they be as inconspicuous as, “oh no, I am feeling tired way earlier than I should” or as pessimistic as, “wow, this really hurts, I can’t push any harder”, once negative self-talk begins, research has shown that performance severely declines.

Therefore, implementing positive mental imagery and mental cues is a powerful weapon. Develop positive mantras such as, “I am strong, I can do this” as opposed to “push through the pain, don’t give up” because the second mantra elicits negative connotations with the words “pain” and “give up”.

2. Reform to get back on pace
One of the most common racing mistakes is slowly letting the pace slip, often times without realizing it.

As your legs get tired and your breathing becomes more labored, maintaining goal race pace gets more difficult – that’s not a big surprise. However, many runners don’t know what to do about it once it does start happening.

Analyze the splits from your previous races at the same distance and identify where this natural slow down occurred. If you have the data from your previous three to four races, you can usually find a common point in any race distance where you start to fade.

If you’re new to the race distance, a good tip to remember is that the average slowing point will occur just after half way – usually between half way and three quarters of the race. For example, the slow point in a 5k usually occurs at 3000 meters.

Once you’ve identified your slow spot, plan to throw in a surge at this exact moment when you’re developing your race plan.

3. Recommit
Recommitting to the pace and your finishing goal is a hybrid tactic that combines positive mental cues with surging to get back on pace.

Try to relax, calm your thoughts, and look deep inside yourself. Is there something more there? If so, recommit to your goals and return your focus to your pace. Practice recommitting during your next tempo run or your next hard workout and you’ll be better prepared on race day.

Practice recommitting during your next tempo run or your next hard workout and you’ll be better prepared on race day.

4. Remove Extra Layers
When it’s finally race day, take it off! The extra layers and fuel belts, that is. The less clothing and gear on your body, the faster your time — which is why the pros practically get right down to their skivvies to run.

5. Relax at the finish
If you’ve ever watched the last 100 meters of a local 5k race, you’ve probably seen most runners flying down the last straightaway with their faces clenched, arms flaying and veins popping out of their neck as they strain to extract every ounce of speed from their legs. Compare this to how relaxed elite milers are during the final 100 meters of their race.

Straining your face and flaying your arms to gain momentum wastes precious energy and distracts from the one goal – moving straight ahead as fast and efficiently as possible. This tactic applies to any point in a race, not just the finish.

Stay relaxed, focus on your form, and let your speed and power come naturally.

Implement these five tactics in your training and pre-race strategy and you’ll drastically improve your chances of realizing all the hard training you’ve put in.

Good luck at your race!

Sumeet Aggarwal
Founder, Xpress Fitness & Running.

Sources and Disclaimer : Some Views are taken from Jeff Gaudette newsletter I read. The knowledge comes from various sources I read and learn from web, so any other matching of language can be coincidental and this platform is not for commercial use but only information sharing.