A big race is just around the corner! No matter if it’s your first entry or you are aiming for a personal best, many of us may be nervous or worried about the coming race. Manabu Kawagoe, a newly-appointed head coach of Shiseido Running Club advises us on useful techniques just before heading to the race.
Born in 1962 in Kagoshima prefecture. Graduated from Waseda University. Won numerous races and ran the key Second Stage of Hakone Ekiden. Joined Shiseido HR Dept. in 1986 and ran in various competitions as a member athlete of Running Club. After retiring from competition, nurtured numerous athletes as a coach and supervisor. In 2007, left Shiseido and set up a club team “Second Wind AC” to train international-level athletes and junior athletes. In January 2017, returned to Shiseido as the supervisor of Shiseido Running Club.
Cross the Finish Line! Hit the Record!Valuable Pre-Race Techniques
“Of course, I want to cross the finish line!” or, “I want to finish in record time!” For such runners, Mr. Kawagoe shares useful information that helps boost performance just before the race.
●Run once or twice a week if you are aiming to complete the race.
“If your focus is to complete the race in the first place, you need stamina to run for long hours. And as we say “practice makes perfect,” run once or twice a week until one week before the race to boost stamina. If you are not ready for a long run, try a few sets of 10 minutes’ walk and 20 minutes’ run.” (Mr. Kawagoe)
●Develop a sense of pacing by 10 days before the race if you are trying to better your record.
“On the other hand, if you are aiming to finish in your record time, here are the technical training tips for you. Pacing plays a crucial role to deliver a result. Run 3-5km at your target pace if you are in for a 10km race, or 10-20km if you are targeting at a full marathon. You can improve your speed and stamina too while mastering the best pacing. That said, don’t overstretch, or you may be worn out, suffering from fatigue and not in the best physical condition on the race day. So master the ideal pacing 10 days prior to the race.” (Mr. Kawagoe)
Ms. Li who aims to finish with a good time says, “I was focusing on distance rather than speed as I wanted to get used to the “distance” of the race. But now I’ve learnt the importance of mastering the best pacing even with half the distance, which is very helpful.”
Whichever training you choose, Mr. Kawagoe advises: “Don’t increase the amount of training abruptly just before the race. If you overstretch yourself, your immunity may be lowered, resulting in increased risk of catching a cold or injury.”
“Running” is Just One Component!Conditioning Techniques as the Final Stage of Body Maintenance
When we have only 7-10 days to go before the race, we cannot do much about running, but there are still many other things we can do.
According to Mr. Kawagoe, “Through diet, for instance, you can improve your physical condition by limiting deep fried foods or high sugar sweets and balancing what you eat. Proper diet will help reduce your body fat too and that makes you feel lighter. And iron-rich foods are also important. Iron boosts hemoglobin level and improves the blood condition that helps you to run for a longer distance. At the same time, sweating a lot or hurting your soles while running on the hard pavement, or suffering from low hemoglobin level caused by a period, etc., you lose iron and cannot perform well. So you’d better take enough iron before the race.”
In addition, stretch properly before and after the race to prevent injuries and if needed, do icing or sports massage on the parts that feel uncomfortable. Proper body maintenance is an essential health regimen.
Ms. Li comments, “I was already following body maintenance techniques and diet routines, so I am happy to confirm I was on track with my regular training and dieting.”
On the Day of the Race:How to Spend Your Time the Day Before and on the Day?
It is also very important how we spend the day before and the morning of the race day in order to fully demonstrate the benefits of training and all other efforts. Here is advice from Mr. Kawagoe.
●The day before the race
“Take a lot of carbohydrate, which is easy to digest and soon turned into energy, such as rice, bread, udon noodles or pasta, etc. Uncooked foods such as sashimi, high-fiber vegies or spicy foods had better be avoided as they may cause a stomachache. Plus, do light exercises instead of running fast to save the stamina and have a good night sleep of at least six hours no matter how busy you are.”
●The morning of the race day
“Eat easily digestible foods and drink lots of water even in cold weather. Being nervous or anxious can make us go to the toilet, but of course, we don’t want to go off the course and lose time. So do go before the race starts. Check the weather to decide your running outfit. Some veterans are busy doing proper warmups but if you are a beginner, light exercises such as stretching will do to warm up your body.”
Mr. Kawagoe also introduces useful items to support your run. “Take sunglasses, a cap, gloves, a windbreaker, as well as salty candies and jellies for energy source for the second half. Also other items such as your regular painkiller if having a period, plasters or sunscreen may save your day.”
Ready, Steady, Go!Check Points to Keep in Mind during a Long Journey
You safely kicked off, but don’t relax yet. There are some other points to bear in mind to perform your best. “Pace control is crucial if you want to achieve the target. Everyone tends to be somewhat overexcited and over-paced at first, so run negative splits, starting at a slower pace and speeding up in the second half. Run rhythmically with short strides to reduce the impact on your legs and make it through,” says Mr. Kawagoe.
Last but not least, Mr. Kawagoe advises something to remember when we are feeling really down.
“Find your unique way to enjoy your run instead of comparing yourself to others. As the story of “The Hare and the Tortoise” tells us, make small but ongoing effort. If you are exhausted, look around and enjoy the view, or take in the applause and cheers of the audience while running.”
With these words, let’s go and enjoy the race!
（Photo By Thinkstock / Getty Images）
Fashion model. Born in China in 1987 and grew up in Japan. With three years of running experience, currently enjoys competing with friends through a running app and runs about 100 km a month. Participated in Hawaii Honolulu Marathon in 2015. Sets a future target of taking part in a triathlon race. Also works as an interpreter and in the PR field.
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