Throughout my years as an elite athlete, I have constantly been asked to share my experiences in the sport and give advice on how to tackle a variety of different scenarios. One of the most popular questions I receive is how do I prep on race day: What food do I eat? How much do I sleep? What drills do I do? etc. Like with any sport, there’s no handbook telling you exactly how you need to train or the specifics on when you need to warm up for a race. Athletes will value different tools to prepare themselves, and to this day I am still learning new things about what can make me feel the most comfortable. I do however think it is helpful to be open to trying new things as sometimes breaking habits is the best way to have a breakthrough performance.
Photo: Chris Lew
Australian Athletics Championships at Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre on April 1, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.
Last Saturday I competed at the Australian Athletics Championships and became the national champ in the 1500m for the third consecutive year. This was also my second gold for the year, winning another national title in the 5000m. I have decided to use the 1500m race as an example for this post and show a play by play breakdown of my preparation, 24hours out from the race. It should be noted that not all race day preps will be exactly the same for me, as more often than not I am staying in a hotel and I do not always have access to the comforts that I am used to. For this particular race however I was lucky enough to be able to stay at my parents house in Sydney and was able to do everything I would have wanted without too much drama.
So lets start 24hours out, the night before.
7:30pm: Dinner – Salmon, mixed greens salad, cous cous with nuts, feta and craisins.
8:30pm: Cup of tea and two scotch finger biscuits.
10pm-11pm: Watch Netflix (currently on Suits)
The day of the Aussie Champs 1500m.
7:30am-9am: Open the windows and allow for ‘light sleeping’ *I have found this has been a helpful way for my body to slowly wake up and feel more refreshed rather than over sleeping and feeling sluggish.
9:30am: Breaky – Begin with a glass of warm water with half a lemon *this is a good way to neutralize acidity and bring your pH levels toward the alkaline side – I have heartburn/reflux issues in general so this helps with digestion.
Follow the water with a toasted breakfast roll with half an avocado, two fried eggs, parmesan cheese + a cup of tea.
10am: Hang up washing outside. Managed to lock myself out of the house when no one was home. Spent the next 30min trying to figure out a way in.
10:30am: Lose patience and break through a screen on a window and climb through.
10:30am-11:30am: Work on Boho Kitty pieces while watching TV.
12pm: 15min easy shakeout run followed by 15mins of light stretching.
1:30pm: Lunch – Yogurt and granola with berries, banana, coconut, chia seeds + a latte
2pm: Yelled at by dad for breaking the screen
2:30-3pm: Blow dry/straighten hair
3pm-3:30pm – Pack bag for track with checklist:
-Boho Kitty headband
-Up & Go milk for post race
-Granola bar in case I get peckish
-R8 Roll recovery
-Two drink bottles (one with SOS)
3:30-4:30pm: Put on my pjs, lie down in bed and watch Netflix.
4:45pm: Snack – banana, piece of toast with PB & honey.
5pm-5:30pm: Get dressed, style hair, do makeup. Finish off any final bag packing.
5:45pm: Leave for track.
6:10pm: Arrive at warm up track.
6:10pm-6:40pm: Check in with coach Nic Bideau, then lie down and listen to music.
6:40pm: Activation drills *before all sessions and races I will spend at least 10mins dedicated to activating my muscles before I start running. The majority of these drills will be focused on my glutes.
6:50pm: Warm up jog for 20min.
7:15pm: Change into buns and fresh tights, put on Boho Kitty bling, chew Run Gum.
7:20pm-7:35pm: Drills, light stretches, strides
7:39pm: Check in at call room.