ST: Preparing during the next 24 hours!

This article was first published in The Straits Times on 8 December 2018

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VOLKER HERRMANN – Race days are often the highlight of an athlete’s career. You have invested weeks and months, and made substantial sacrifices in every area of your life, for these precious moments of racing. When so much is on the line, naturally you would want to make every moment count, and every step you take prior to your race day is crucial.
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D-1: Take it as just another day

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One of the biggest secret to succeed is to, ironically, approach race day as an average training day. While it is important to prepare well, you should not try to make the day an unusual one, especially if you are thinking of experimenting or trying something new.

If you are sharing your experience with your friends and supporters, remember to give them instructions beforehand, especially to be stationed at the parts of the race you would need their support and morale boosters the most!

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IAAF lecturer, Volker Herrmann sharing his race tips with National Marathoner & ONEathlete Ashley Liew, who will be running the SCSM 2018 tomorrow. Photo credits: RunONE

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H-18: Prepare early

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Prepare your equipment the night before, like your shoes, socks, shorts and singlet (pin your number bib). It is important not to wear anything you have not worn at least three or four times before, preferably for your training sessions. You would not want to experience any unusual (unexpected)  discomfort during your race. Tapes and lubricating gels should be used to cover sensitive body parts which are prone to abrasions.

If you are listening to music, prepare the playlist beforehand.

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H-12: Get some sleep

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It is normal to be anxious before your race –  all your hard work culminates in this one day. It is usual to not have the deepest sleep the night before your race. Even top athletes are not spared the sleeplessness and anxiety  before race day. It is actually the sleep several days out that plays a bigger role in your performance on race day. So, try not to think about your race on that night! If you are racing at a time that is not during your usual training hours, it is best to slowly adjust your sleep and training patterns accordingly, at least eight to ten days before the marathon. This will also greatly help in your sleep for the night before the race.
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H-3: Have a simple meal

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Try to have breakfast at least three hours before the start of the marathon, preferably food with a low glycemic index, so that  your blood glucose level will rise slower and more steadily. Avoid acidic fruits and fruit juices, and go for bananas. It will be best to stay away from dairy products too.

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H-1: Make your way to the start line

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Always be early for your race, and plan your way to the starting line taking into account road closures, long queues, and huge crowds!

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Get in your dynamic warm-ups.

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H: Stick to your race plan

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Facing competition often raises adrenaline levels, and naturally, you would  have a tendency to run too fastin the first few kilometers. It would be prudent to hold off in the first ten minutes and start slightly slower than  your planned race pace. If you are using fixed splits for different intervals (e.g. the 5k, 10km, or half marathon mark), write them down on your forearm. Having a quick look makes it easy to check whether you are following the race plan.
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Have a blast at 2018 Singapore Marathon!

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Volker Herrmann is an international high performance sport consultant and an IAAF lecturer. He was the former Technical Director for SAA, and works with athletes and coaches on a global scale.
Volker Herrmann is an international high performance sport consultant and an IAAF lecturer. He was the former Technical Director for SAA, and works with athletes and coaches on a global scale.

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