Race Day Prep

Posted on August 7, 2014

If you’re running in the Albany 1/2 marathon this week, or competing in a future race, we’d like to give you some tips on how to optimize your performance on race day!

  • Tapering
    • It’s important to build your base and peak training to your race distance about 2 weeks prior to your race. The NSCA then recommends tapering for 7-16 days before your race.1
    • Exercise intensity at proper duration is the key to an effective taper
    • Your workouts should be much less in duration, only 15-45 minutes max, but much more intense
      • NSCA recommends >90% VO2 max training during that time to maximize your gains.
        • Train at this intensity and duration every 2-3 days the last 2 weeks with at least 3-4 days rest leading into race day for maximum performance
      • You should have had some of these training sessions prior to your race. If you haven’t trained at this intensity, only train at the max intensity you had during your actual training!
  • Hydration
    • It’s important to plan your hydration leading up to your race.
    • Daily Intake Recommendation:
      • Males: 13 cups or 104 ounces daily
      • Females: 9 cups or 72 ounces daily
      • You would want to drink at least that, if not more the days leading up to your race
  • Race Day
    • 2-3 hours before race: drink 17-20 ounces water/sport drink
    • 10-20 minutes pre run: 7-10 ounces water/sport drink
  • During Race
    • Attempt to intake about 10 ounces of water/sport drink per 10-20 minutes
    • If race is >45 minutes, make sure to have some carbohydrate supplement (i.e., sport drink, honey stick, “Goo”)
  • Post Race
    • Drink up! Replenish!
    • Goal is to drink back any weight you lost
      • If you lost 5 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of fluid within next 2-4 hours
  • Dynamic warm-up
    • Prior to any exercise a dynamic warm up is
      preferred over static stretching. Dynamic warm-ups involve quick stretching with activities such as high knees, butt kicks, carioca, and hip swings. Research has shown that static stretching before exercise can actually decrease your muscle power and doesn’t prevent your risk for muscle injury.
  • Static stretching
    • Static stretching is very important after your race. I know you’re tired, but make sure to stretch with 30-60 second holds after the race to avoid muscles tightening after.
    • Make sure to get those hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, calves, and mid back stretched out!

We hope these tips help you get the most out of your race day! Happy running!

-Dane Happeny, DPT



  1. Hoffman J. NSCA’s Guide To Program Design. Champaigne, IL: Human Kinetics; 2012.

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