Get race ready with some last tips and advice from defending national champion over 1500 metres, 10 km, marathon and half marathon Thijs Nijhuis.
Much is at stake with race day closing in. Nothing must go wrong. You can really feel the tension, the expectations, and the thrilling feeling of excitement now.
Defending national half marathon champion, Thijs Nijhuis is an experienced competitive runner, who has been preparing for race competitions more than once. Read on to learn what he does to get ready for a race.
1. With race day approaching, what is on a runner’s mind?
Part of preparing for a race is to decide on what to eat and drink on race day, test it out and also to test different energy supplies. You don’t want to experiment with anything new this close to race day. Instead, go with what usually works for you.
2. What are your own training routines and focus?
With regards to training routines, it’s time for tapering and cutting back on volume. However, it’s important that you keep up intensity and keep training in your half marathon pace.
I hardly make any changes until 6 days before an important race. This is my usual tactics:
Day 5-6 – very easy training to recover.
Day 4 – intervals in competition pace, e.g. 4 x 2 km in half marathon pace.
Day 3 – 60-70 minutes easy to progressive pace, close to half marathon pace.
Day 2 – 2 x 30 minutes easy pace.
Day 1 – 30 minutes easy pace.
I do this training routine to recover without getting lazy and loosing “momentum”. If you spend the entire last week tapering, I find myself feeling tired and lazy. However, it’s vital that you find a routine that works for you.
3. How do you put together a race plan?
No matter what pace you’re running, you have to mentally be prepared for the fact, that it is going to hurt. Make a good race plan and don’t run the first 12 km too fast. Most people can run 12 km …
If you feel on top after 16 km, you can increase your pace. By then, you will have only 5 km to go, and the finish line is a lot closer now.
Thijs Nijhuis is preparing for CPH Half in the Italian mountains together with his competitor and training buddy, Norwegian Sondre Moen.
4. How do you know what finish time to aim for?
Only you know what finish time to aim for. However, I have a rule of thumb saying, that if you’ve run 10 km “all out”, add another minute to that time and try to go for that.
Apart from that, I think you learn the most from training a lot, running 20-25 minutes in half marathon pace. If you have a little energy to spare, come race day you will be able to keep that pace, being high on adrenalin and all.
5. How can family and friends support you on racey day?
It’s always great to have someone supporting you out there on the course!
If you have many supporters, ask them to line up different places along the course. The first and the last kilometer are always easy, so you might need more encouragement in between. In idea is to have someone waiting for you at km 18, so that if you get tired at km 15, you will have something to look forward to. You always want to show off a little bit when passing by somebody you know, so this can really provide a motivational boost.
4. What are your last good advice?
Don’t change your diet on race day or in the days before. Just do as you normally do.
Be prepared and accept the fact, that it’s going to hurt. Don’t let the negative thoughts take over.
My last advice is to start out conservatively. The first 16 km are plain and simple transportation, and then you finish off with 5 km race.