With just days until this year’s Mother’s Day Classic, thousands of participants all over Australia are coming to the end of their training schedule and gearing up for race day on May 10. But, in terms of preparation, this week is just as important.
Here’s how to get the most out of it, with tips from leading health professional Andrew Griffin, of Step Into Life Queens Park, in Sydney.
“I’ll be running, and so will about 10 of my clients,” he says.
“It’s a great event, and we support it every year. It has so much meaning for people, because everyone knows someone who’s been touched by breast cancer. It’s also a lot of fun.”
• Breast cancer at different ages: 20s and 30s
• Breast cancer at different ages: 40s and 50s
• Who will be affected by breast cancer? All of us
• Top execs to compete in Boardroom Challenge
• Women ‘delaying seeing GP’ on finding cancer symptom
• Rural women ‘hit harder’ by breast cancer: expert
The week before
“Try not to add anything new in your last week,” Mr Griffin warns.
Instead, this is the time to gradually ease off on your training. Your last run of any distance should have happened on the Monday before.
For the rest of the week, stay active, stick to incidental exercise, walking rather than driving, playing with the kids, and keeping generally active.
The day before
‘Save’ your legs as much as possible in the final 24 hours.
“Avoid long periods of standing, stairs and anything that will fatigue them,” Mr Griffin advises. “You’ve worked hard, now’s the time to put your feet up and relax.”
Pre-race hydration should start at lunchtime, so carry a bottle with you and sip regularly.
“Water consumed slowly will metabolise better than taking large sips.”
At dinner time, think pasta, potatoes or wholegrain bread.
“Carbs are the first fuel that your body burns so having a store of them will help with energy levels during the race.”
Avoid anything creamy, spicy or fatty.
Before bed, work out your public transport route to the start line, and make sure your bib, safety pins and kit are all ready to go.
The morning of …
This is your last chance for hydration, but aim to stop drinking water around 90 minutes before the starting gun. For breakfast, Mr Griffin suggests carbohydrates and light protein – such as scrambled eggs on toast.
Now is not the time to break out new running shoes.
“They won’t have had time to decompress and you run the risk of suffering blisters.”
“Apply Vaseline over chest, thighs and under arms – this will stop chaffing especially if raining.”
Staying warm pre-race is important for keeping muscles relaxed.
“Wear a long sleeve top that you don’t mind leaving at the start line,” Mr Griffin says. “There’ll be volunteers there on the day to collect and pass on to worthy charities.”
Though you’re likely to feel warm after all that exercise, try not to cool down too rapidly.
“Staying warm helps reduce muscle stiffness, so have your support crew ready with some light, warm layers,” Mr Griffin says.
You’ll be buzzing from the electric atmosphere, but don’t forget to stretch your muscles. It’s the best way to disperse lactic acid, and prevent injury.
But Mr Griffin’s best tip?
“Make sure you’ve pre-booked for a local café because now’s the time to enjoy a well-deserved brunch.”
And if you didn’t train …
“Break the race into blocks,” says Mr Griffin. “Power walk for two minutes, then jog for two minutes. Do that for the first half of the run, and see how you feel. Then you can make an assessment of what to do for the second half.”
Whether you’re walking, running or doing a bit of both, good luck!
The New Daily is a proud partner of the Mother’s Day Classic, a fun run and walk, which raises funds for breast cancer research. It will take place on May 10. Visit the website to register online before the event