Tips for the days leading up to the race
"Here I am with just a few days to go before the race, my gosh, I can already feel the adrenaline pumping." This is a very frequent thought among those who are about to take part in an important race - especially if they have been preparing for a long time with training and various sacrifices. Let's see what tips we have for the period leading up to the race.
I would like to point out that these tips refer in particular to endurance races such as marathons, ultratrail, gran fondo etc. and are the result of more than 20 years of experience in this area where I have seen just about everything. In this article I’ll share some practical and simple concepts which are easily applicable and can be integrated with your own personal “rituals".
If you’re going to take part in a race and come from an area at sea level or from a country far away, we recommend that you spend a period of adaptation and acclimatisation in the area where the race will take place:
if you have to face a 4-6hr journey to get to the location of the race, I recommend that you try to arrive at least the afternoon of the day before the start;
If you have a 6-10hr journey ahead of you, try to sleep at least 2 nights in the area before the start of the race.
If you also need to deal with a change in time zone, keep in mind that for each hour of time zone change (+/-) it is recommended that you spend at least 1 day on site before the start of the race (for example 3 hours of time zone = arriving 3 days beforehand).
If you are lucky enough to arrive two days before the race, I recommend that you look at some of the sections of the course and acclimatise yourself, perhaps going up in the morning or early afternoon to any easily accessible areas where the altitude is higher.  In the afternoon I recommend you take a "nap" of up to 30 minutes and then get ready for the race.
With regards to meals, make sure you have your main meal at least 4 hours before the start of the race and don’t forget to have a small snack an hour beforehand.
Also, don’t forget to find out where the bib collection is located and what procedures the organisation requires. This phase is often a source of stress and inconvenience which is unnecessary and easily preventable.
Last but not least, in the days leading up to the race, do not change your habits and/or what you usually do during training sessions. The hard work is done, relax and try to enjoy the moment and the fact that you’ve got the chance to take part in and enjoy such an occasion that many can’t! Remember to eat well, rest and above all...
… Good luck.
Riccardo Marini
In collaboration with Total Training