You’ve been training and dieting for an obstacle course race for a while, and now it’s time to put that to the test and perform, but what should you do the day of the race? Many people have their own rituals that work for them, but there are some essentials you should have on your checklist to help get you prepared. Here you will learn three ways that can help your performance on the track that everyone should put into practice.
Fuel Your Body
Most people don’t train on an empty stomach, and nor should it be any different when it’s showtime. You need to have something to eat so that your body has energy and glycogen to perform optimally, and this means you should be mindful of what you eat for dinner the day before and what you have for breakfast.
At night, you’ll want to make sure you start carb-loading so that you can let your body get a headstart on storing glycogen. Whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, and brown rice are excellent choices for carb sources that are filling. Of course, you should also make sure to have some protein and fat as well, but the majority of this meal’s calories should be from complex carbohydrates.
For your breakfast a few hours before the race, you can follow a similar strategy, but choose healthy foods that you’d typically eat for breakfast, such as whole-grain toast or bagel, oatmeal, some fruit, nuts, or Greek yogurt with fruit at the bottom. During this time, you’ll also want to start hydrating yourself, ideally with a sports drink because they are typically enhanced with electrolytes, which are helpful for muscle contraction and maintaining fluid balance in your body.
Don’t go overboard and stuff yourself before a race, but don’t be too light either. Obstacle races burn a lot of calories, so you’ll need to be adequately fueled for it.
As you probably already know from training for an obstacle course race and most likely spectating some before dropping in one, it’s one of the most strenuous forms of physical activity.
Just like with your training, it’s important that you set aside some time beforehand to warm up your muscles and your cardio-respiratory system. This will get the blood and oxygen flowing to where it should be so that you start feeling physically and mentally primed for the race.
It will also reduce the likelihood of you getting injured, which is important for longevity in any sport. If you get injured, it makes it harder to train for the next event, and it can have a negative impact on your mood and motivation to continue.
Some great warm-up exercises you should do are push-ups, crunches, squats, knee hikes, arm circles, and crawls. These will make sure that all of your essential muscles get some work in before it’s time to race.
Relax and Have Fun!
Races can be quite competitive, and there’s a good chance you’ve been psyching yourself up for the big day, and while some adrenaline can be extremely helpful in many ways, it’s also important that you learn how to stay grounded and focused.
Breathing exercises can be used anytime and anywhere, and if you have the time, meditation could also calm you down and get you in a good headspace.
Stress and anxiety, especially before a big event, are completely normal, but if you think it’s hindering you, counseling and therapy can also be an option too, especially if you plan on racing more in the future. BetterHelp can teach you how to relax and think positively in these situations, so that you can focus on being the best athlete you can be.
Not only that, the skills you learn can be applied to other crucial aspects of your life, such as being a better parent by helping your kids through the challenges they will face, which you can learn more about here.
At the end of the day, while you might have a strong competitive spirit, just try to have fun. Talk and joke around with others at the event, everyone is there to support each other and have a good time.
Even if you’ve spent months getting ready for an obstacle course race, preparation doesn’t end on the day of the event, and there are a few crucial things you can do to make sure you’re in top shape and eager to dominate the course. By eating smart, warming up, and finding the right mentality you’ll be ready to put all of your training to the test and overcome the obstacles that get in your way.
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