Training

What to do in race week

You’ve put in the training and now you want to be on top form to take on the Vitality Westminster Mile. Here are some tips on what to do in the days ahead of the race to ensure you enjoy every minute of the event.

Know the route

The Westminster Mile may be a short race, but it’s still a good idea to check out the race route before the big day so you know what lies ahead. The race takes in three sides of St James’s Park, starting in The Mall, turning along Horse Guards Road then into Birdcage Walk before finishing on Spur Road by Buckingham Palace. If you don’t know the area, take a look at the map included with your Final Instructions booklet.

Make sure you are well hydrated…

…but don’t overdo it either! Health authorities recommend you drink around two litres a day, so try to meet this target in the days before the race. For the mile distance you don’t need to drink as you run around the course and you should never gulp large amounts in the minutes before the race, but do drink enough so that you don’t feel thirsty.

Picture yourself completing the race

Instead of worrying about how you’ll perform at the race, picture yourself on the course and running as well as you can. Frank Shorter, former Olympic champion and author of Running for Peak Performance, says: “As you familiarise yourself with the course, visualise yourself successfully completing the race. When you get out there on Race Day, you’ll find it seems a little more familiar than it would otherwise.” Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Sleep well

Avoid late nights in the run up to the race; and take it easy during the days to ensure you’re well rested for the big day. It’s also a good idea to get up at the time you will need to on Race Day for a couple of days ahead of the race, so your body is used to being up and about.

Be familiar with your kit

“Don’t try anything new on Race Day – stick to what you like from training, ” says European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey. The race is not the time for experiments, so you should plan what you are going to wear on Race Day well in advance of the day. Choose comfortable kit that you’ve tried out in training, and lay it all out ready the night before so there’s no need to panic in the morning. Check out our Race Day kit essentials guide for more information.

Keep an eye on your food intake

The mile distance isn’t long enough to warrant carb-loading but you should still pay attention to what you eat in the week before the race. Try to avoid new foods and stick to your tried and trusted favourites. Limit fats and avoid alcohol, while eating a moderate amount of carbohydrates and protein. And don’t forget your fruit and veg!

Don’t overtrain

Avoid arriving on the Start Line feeling tired by reducing your training runs in the week leading up to the race. For the one-mile distance, you don’t need to be running significantly longer distances if you’re unfamiliar with them, and the last thing you want is an injury caused by pushing yourself too hard in the build up to the race. Trust in the training you have done already and you should have a race to remember.