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Last Minute Preparation for a 10K

woman running on track

It’s the moment you’ve been training for! You’ve been following a program for weeks or even months, and now you’re one week away from running a 10K. I’ve run many races of different lengths, and this is what works best for me in the last few days leading up to the event:

Maintain your training
The week before the race should be a continuation of your training program; it’s not the time to build your mileage. I usually do two short runs throughout the week-for example, if a race is on Saturday I might run 3-4 miles on Monday and Wednesday. Then I’ll take a spin class one of the other days to cross train, and do some core and hip strengthening exercises. I do a lot of stretching throughout the week, and the day before the race I’ll take a yoga class so that I’m nice and stretched before the run.

No need to carb load, just eat healthy
Eat healthy throughout the week, with a focus on greens, fruit, lean meat, and some plant-based proteins like quinoa. Choose easily digestible foods so that your body doesn’t have to work so hard, and avoid anything heavy like fried foods or things that typically cause stomach issues for you (one example may be dairy). You may want to incorporate a few more carbs into the week, but don’t overdo it.

Get Enough Sleep-and not just the night before
You work out so much training for a 10K that your body needs lots of rest! Make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep each night of the week leading up to the race.

Drink plenty of water
You’ll be sweating a lot during the race, so you need to be hydrated. Your muscles will absorb the water better if it’s over a period of time, so drink plenty of water throughout the week. My personal goal is to drink as many ounces as my body weight in water each day. Don’t try to chug extra glasses of water the morning of the race-it won’t feel good sloshing around your stomach as you run. It’s better to drink a moderate amount of water at regular intervals.

Practice the details of your run
Your run will go much more smoothly if you’re not fussing with new accessories or clothes. Practice running in the exact gear you’ll be wearing-shoes, leggings, top, everything.

Anything you’re going to do the day of the race should be practiced first too-for example, if I know it’s going to be hot the day of the race I practice running with a small hand water bottle, taking regular sips as I run so that my body will be prepared to digest the water correctly on race day. Most runners won’t need energy gels or packets during a 10K run, but if you do decide to use one practice that before the race too so you know how your body will respond to it.

The day of the race
Most races provide water, sports drinks, and snacks at the end so I don’t usually bring anything extra to eat. Watch out for the heat though-if you know it’s going to be hot, make sure you’re taking regular sips of water and pacing yourself. Stop by a stretching station after the race to prevent your muscles from cramping-Hospital for Special Surgery often hosts stretching stations at local NYRR races, so look for us if you’re in the area!

And lastly, try to have fun. You’ve worked hard to get to this point, and you should be proud of yourself and enjoy it-don’t take it too seriously!

Need a pick me up while training for your next 10K? Erin has provided a special training Spotify playlist.

Erin Corbo, physical therapistErin Corbo is a doctor of physical therapy and a board-certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery Integrative Care Center. She is a lifelong runner and has completed one marathon and numerous half marathons. Erin specializes in runner’s injuries, as well as general orthopedic injuries. Erin will be running in the Oakley New York Mini 10K on June 13th as a member of Team HSS.

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The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.