With just a little more than three weeks to go till Two Oceans 2017, all the hard work is done and it is time to start focusing on getting to the start line fresh, healthy and strong. The temptation is always there to squeeze in just a little extra training thinking it will give you extra confidence on race day. Unfortunately it is more likely to flip you over into the red over trained zone. Always keep in mind:
It is better to arrive on the start line 5% undertrained than 1% overtrained.
As you start to cut back on the training and your body starts to relax, your immune system will also let down the guard a bit. It is therefore important in this time to get in plenty of good nutrition and sleep and to minimize other potential stressors as far as possible.
This is also not the time to try anything new!
In the last 3 weeks reduce your mileage while maintaining the frequency (this is very important to prevent feeling sluggish on race day!) of training. ie. if you were training 4 days a week, continue to train 4 days but cut back the mileage. A good general guideline is as follows –
With 3 weeks to go – do 75% of your usual weekly mileage, with 2 weeks to go – do 50% of your usual mileage, in the last week follow a schedule of short runs with a few acceleration runs.
This weekend (3 weeks to go) should be your last very long LSD and should be at the most 36km. If you did a big one with 4 weeks to go, only do a 20km. A long run of 40k or more takes at least 4 weeks to recover from ! With two weeks to go – do no more than 1 and a half hours on your feet, only 40 minutes.
If you were doing strength work in the gym – cut back to light bodyweight exercises in the 3rd week before the race and in the last 2 weeks use your gym time to focus on activities that aid recuperation such as foam rolling and gentle stretching (Or just chill out in the coffee bar!).
Warning!: You mind will start to play tricks on you the closer you get to race day, you will feel strange niggles, feel unfit, think you have gained 10 kilos etc. etc. Ignore those thoughts! If you have put in the long runs and rested up well, once that gun goes you will be firing on all 4 cylinders! So kick back, relax, enjoy the extra chill time on hand and TRUST YOUR BODY!
Below is a sample schedule for the last week before race day:
Sunday: Easy 30-40 minute run
Tuesday: 5km at an easy pace. End of with a few short acceleration runs over 50-100m.
(If you are going for a massage before the race, it should be no later than the Tuesday, closer to the race and it can leave you feeling flat and sluggish)
Wednesday: 4km at an easy pace. End of with a few short acceleration runs over 50-100m.
Thursday: REST REST REST!!! This is the most important rest day. Feet up! If you must go to the expo then walk around as little as possible. Thursday is also the most important day to do most of your carboloading and to get to bed very very early.
Friday: 3km at an easy pace. End of with a few short acceleration runs over 50-100m.
Saturday: GO TIME!
Good luck and most important of all CELEBRATE THE JOURNEY!