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How to prepare your body the night before the Great North Run

ByGD

Aug 31, 2023
Marathon

If you’ve gone through all the training and preparation for a half marathon, then you’ll want to plan the night before the race to finish off your pre-marathon period as well as possible and ensure that your body is ready for the coming challenge. While the whole run-up for your race is important, the night before can prepare you in so many ways so that you can perform to your best the next day.

Here, the fitness experts at Fitness Superstore will take you through some ways that you can prepare your body for the Great North Run and use this last night to the fullest.

Carb load correctly

In the time immediately before your race, you should be eating primarily 85% to 95% carbohydrates. Some half marathon runners will even eat rice for every meal throughout the day in the hours leading up to their big run. You don’t need to be this limited however. Lots of carbohydrate-rich foods can contribute to having enough energy to run your race — porridge, bread, and tortillas are all great options. Don’t overeat though, as you should remember that you only need about 4 grams of carbohydrates for every pound of your body weight, and avoid heavy sauces and overly protein-laden foods. You should also avoid eating too much fibre the night before a race.

Getting your carb loading correct can be very individual and take a few tries, so don’t be discouraged if you find out new information with each race. But using these tips can help you get started and ensure that you are taking in the right energy to help you through the challenge.

Drink lots of water

You need to stay well hydrated in the day before a race, so that your body is well prepared for you to exercise. If you are drinking the right amount of water throughout evening before your race, your urine should be a light yellow colour rather than dark yellow. Lots of people recommend drinking eight glasses of water each day, and if you are exercising a lot then you might need to drink more. Make sure to start hydrating the day before your race as well as the night, but also ensure that you drink a lot of water with dinner and be properly hydrated before bed.

Being well hydrated should also help you sleep better, in turn helping you perform to your best. Avoid both caffeine and alcohol the night before your race as both of these can dehydrate you further and affect how much energy you have.

Plan for race day

There are lots of little things that you can do in addition to your nutrition and hydration that will make race day go a lot smoother. Planning for your race day will allow you to make it as enjoyable as possible and minimise stress by reducing extra logistical things you have to worry about, allowing you just to concentrate on your race performance. This planning can include thinking about where you will park, how long it will take to get to the start of the race, and how far you will have to walk from your car to the beginning of the race.

Plan other things too, such as laying out any water or snacks you’ll need for the day the night before so that you can just grab them and go in the morning. You should also lay out your race day clothes and any gear you’ll need. With everything planned beforehand, you can just get up on race day and eat a healthy breakfast, then grab everything that you’ve already organised, and head out.

Take time to relax

It’s important to not only prepare for the race using all these nutrition and organisation tips, but to also take time to relax and destress before your run. Everyone’s self-care routine is different, but some things that can help most of us are setting an alarm and going to bed early to get enough sleep, and taking a hot bath the night before the race to keep the muscles warm and prevent them becoming stiff.

Doing some light stretches or yoga the night before your race can also help you prepare for your distance race the next day. This will also keep your muscles warm and stretched so that they don’t become stiff.

Keoghan Bellew, Personal Trainer at Fitness Superstore comments:

“Training for a half marathon requires so much time, effort and commitment, so the night before the race you’ll want to plan your evening so that you don’t lose your hard work in the last hours of your pre-race run-up. If you struggle with pre-race nerves, try to incorporate some self-care into your night time routine to help you drift off to sleep and get that all-important rest before the big day. Finding something relaxing to watch, having a cup of herbal tea in the evening, doing some lighter exercise or meditation can help you to switch off and get the shut-eye you need.

“As well as this, you can take the time to ensure that you pick the right clothes and gear for the conditions that you’ll be running in. It’s worth taking time to look at the weather forecast and plan your outfits accordingly, as it can influence your performance if you get caught in the rain, or alternatively in an unexpected heatwave. Lightweight breathable clothes that are made with the weather in mind are ideal, such as waterproof options for rainy days, and warmer garments for the colder months.”

By GD