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The TC 10k is four weeks away, and you are well on your way to being totally prepared for a great event day. On April 7th, the RunSport clinics are holding a 10K test event, a chance to practice walking or running the distance. Test events are perfect ways to hone your skills and set up some positive visualization and preparation for race day. I encourage you to approach the test event seriously but also lightheartedly. Put some serious thought into preparing, and show up calm and optimistic about it. Approach the test event with a logical and practical sense of it being a ‘dress rehearsal’. You are going to practice everything you want to happen on race day, including nutrition, hydration, mental preparation and physically practicing walking and running 10k. The more you can prepare before the event, the more likely your event will be successful, and also, stress free:
Racing is a game but it is also a commitment. By the time you arrive at the starting line, you have signed up, you have prepared, you have increased your skill level, and all that’s left to do is to enjoy the scenery, the people and the brilliant feeling of completing what you set out to do.
Here are some tips for Practicing TC 10K Event Day during the Test Event on April 7th
A great event experience starts the day before, with an intention to rest your legs and fuel your body. The day before the test event, try to conserve energy and eat three good meals that are carbohydrate rich in order to top up glycogen in the muscles. Avoid anything that is unusual: this includes novel sport activities or eating food that you would normally never eat. Stick to what you know works for you.
A seamless and stress free morning paves the way for an enjoyable event so before you go to bed the night before the event, organize for the morning so things run smoothly and you aren’t looking for lost items at the last minute. Lay out your training clothes. Plan your breakfast timing and items and most importantly, your morning mindset. The last thing you should tell yourself at night is this:
Tomorrow morning I get to wake up and test the 10K!
(Note how this language is markedly different from “I have to get up and do 10k tomorrow, inner groan.)
On the event morning, you will be ready. You know what to wear, what to eat and where to go. Your mindset will be one of excitement and anticipation about the great opportunity to train and work on being efficient, smooth, and emotionally strong and positive. A 10Km distance gives you plenty of time to experience the joy of walking and running well, which includes—if you are pushing yourself—embracing discomfort and staying mentally strong through any rough patches where doubt and negativity like to creep in. Look at the rest of the participants, and the enthusiastic volunteers, as a great big ball of positive energy pushing you on. This is what you signed up for! Anticipate the late event fatigue and have some tools on hand to re-focus. Task oriented self-talk is always good at this point. Focus on your arms, your feet, your breath, being relaxed…can do action items that you control.
Great training and racing always focuses on what you can do, not what you ‘hope’ to do. Here is a step by step breakdown of what to expect over the course of a 10k distance:
NOTE: Very fit athletes will be able to absorb the fast start of a 10k as their legs will be strong but for beginners I would advise to pace conservatively over the first three kilometres of the course so as not to go out too fast with excitement. This will ensure leaving energy for the second half.
Start: It’s easy to get excited with participants, spectators and atmosphere adding inspiration to the morning. The first kilometer is the place for experienced or more competitive athletes to get out to a fast start, or their goal pace, and for the novice to find space and a comfortable pace of work and breathing.
1-3K Mark: athletes should be thinking ‘light’ and ‘quick and relaxed’, working on feeling relaxed by using the arms well and breathing deeply. Because it is early in the distance, you want to be at pace but have it feel as effortless as possible. Focus on landmarks ahead and getting to them well. Novice racers will want to make sure they are practicing their own race and not ‘sprinting’ to keep up with others in all the excitement. Any hills? Use gravity and try to carry momentum down and up hills focussing on finding quick rhythm over the crest and onto flats.
3-4K Mark: You are into the heart of the race distance now, and should be really into a strong rhythm that takes focus to maintain. Your thoughts are on the moment, allow distractions to come and go without giving them too much energy.
5-7K Mark: This is where the race typically starts to feel hard and athletes should expect discomfort to rise and have prepared some strong positive thoughts here. Strong process cues about being relaxed and good positive self-talk should be practiced now.
7K Mark: There is 3 km to go at this point in the race and you can now start counting down the minutes left until you cross the finish line. Knowing that you have 15 or 18 or 30 minutes left to run or walk is positive information! Start giving yourself positive cues: Fly! Glide! As you start your push for the finish, having some landmarks for 2k to go and 1k to go is a good thing here. If you have pre run the course, find markers for these spots.
8K Mark: You should be drawing on all your resources to finish as strongly as possible. You can remind yourself to relax, to focus on good form, recall all the dedication and training you have done to get here, tell yourself to be tough. There is only 2 km to go!
9K Mark: How you handle yourself in these last few minutes is what you will be most proud of. It is often the effort of the last two kilometres that makes your race: how deep into the well can your source your inner and outer strength? Celebrate your efforts and soak it all up!
If you are prepared, the magic will happen.
Have Fun with It!