Runner Anupriya Kapur shares 9 rules that enable her to maximise her performance on run day.

Performance anxiety is natural for every athlete, before an event. I was no different. A couple of days before my run, I would start feeling the stress. This just got worse, on the run day.  Since I’m not a morning person, my biggest fear was that I’d sleep through the alarm and miss the event.

My other fear was that I’d need to use the toilet in the middle of the run! However, over time I have learned a few lessons from others and my own experiences. You can’t control everything that happens on the run day but you can certainly be better prepared.

#1 Stop stressing: We are all recreational runners after all. While we would like to test ourselves, it’s more important to enjoy the event. 5 km and 10 km are the best community events there can be. You get to spend a morning with strangers cheering you on, feeding you, offering water, and celebrating doing something healthy for yourself. There is nothing such as “coming last”, and it’s perfectly OK to walk the entire stretch, from start to finish.

#2 Get ready the night before: Lay out your running gear, attach the running bib and get as much sleep as possible. Aim for eight hours. Make sure  you get enough rest throughout the week before, to ready your body.

#3 Don’t do anything new: Don’t try new food, new gear or anything that you haven’t done before. It’s easier said than done. I have ended up wearing new shoes and new tees (event tee), and I have been lucky so far. Wearing something comfortable is the most important thing.

Wearing something that makes you feel good is important too. For women it’s equally important to wear the right sports bra which offers good support and doesn’t chafe the skin (click here for some tips on how to buy the right one).

#4 Eat an energy boosting snack: Have a banana, dates or a slice of toast at least one hour before the run.

#5 Use the Port-A-Loo: Most good runs have port-a-loos near the start line and somewhere mid-distance. Now you can’t expect them to clean or not stink, as they are being used to by hundreds. So hold your nose and use the loo if you need to!

#6 Have light meals the day before the run:  Don’t go overboard with food, specially proteins, a day before the run. Avoid seafood in general, and eat light, healthy and wholesome home food instead.

#7 Get your playlist ready: If you are not much of a talker or need something to distract you so that the distance doesn’t bog you down, then a good playlist is important. An armband to keep your phone will be handy. I prefer wireless MP3.

#8 Post-run meal really matters: Eat something nutritious within 30 minutes of finishing the run. I prefer eggs, nuts and a sandwich. And no, eating chole bhature isn’t going to help.

#9 Be active the next day: As sore as you might feel the day after the race, it’s important to do some easy activity or the other, it could be cycling, just a stroll or a bit of stretching. The movement will increase circulation to your sore muscles, and will help you bounce back sooner.

Happy Running 🙂