Is it better to rest the day before a race?
It really depends on what you’re running. My coach usually has the sprinter’s warmup do a few 50 meters dashed at roughly 25%, so they don’t kill their legs and then have them cool down.
However, our long-distance runners always make it to the state, so he really works with us. The day before a meet of long-distance runners, he will have our warm-up and then have us do 2 200 dashes, 1 400 dashes, and then back down to 2 200 dashes. And, of course, a cool down.
Rest the day before a track meet for distance or sprinters?
Personally, I don’t think you should rest before a meet, even if you distant or a sprinter. Because the day before a meet, you should have been carb-loading, so you already have a lot of energy.
A day before a meet, you should at least do a small temp run or a recovery pace run, stretch for a while so you won’t be sore, and be sure to eat right.
I haven’t done any track meets, only long-distance running – so I cannot say.
Generally speaking, the shorter the distance of any effort, the quicker you will recover (even if the short distance is at a harder effort); so I would have thought that for a track meet, you would be OK doing something the day before – just maybe not as intense as any other day.
In marathon running, you have a ‘taper’ (generally of 3 weeks) to ease your weekly mileage back down just before the race. This can lead to what is known (in the UK at least) as ‘taper madness,’ where you’re bouncing off the walls with too much energy and anxious about everything feeling like a possible injury, etc.
My work colleague who has run as an elite has said that he struggles so much with the taper that the only way he can cope when reducing the mileage is to increase the intensity. Not quite ideal, but it indicates that sometimes you have to keep doing *something*.’
No, it would help if you did some a pre-meet
It is important to keep yourself ready, healthy, and well-rested for a race, but this doesn’t mean completely avoiding running the previous day. For long-distance runners, at least, I’d argue 400m and up, there should be some activity to get your blood pumping and to wake your body up and keep it fit for the race the next day.
I run the 800m/1600m, and my typical pre-meet routine is 20min easy, 6x strides, 20min easy. It makes for about 5 miles of running and strides, which help your body get into the race mindset. The easy segments can go down to 10–15 mins if you’re tired and feel necessary.
“Rest” is ambiguous
Does easy 2 tempo run? That’s a rest day for a 10k runner, not necessarily a great choice, but it won’t break the bank.
Take a day off? Not awful, but it can leave you feeling pretty flat solution.
Short 15-20 minute run? Not bad, but again, it doesn’t usually leave you feeling snappy for the next day.
When you get to a meet that matters, a short run to keep routine is appropriate, but you need to have something to prime your nervous system. Most coaches opt for doing some strides at a quick pace. And can also do some light plyometric work or some explosive med ball or shot throws to get everything firing without doing so much that you feel fatigued.
Sprinters may get in a long warmup and some blocks and hurdle hop. They keep the volume low and intensity high.
I think a full rest. Suppose the track meet is in the morning the next day. If track meets in the afternoon, do a warmup and a few drills the morning before if comp is on the next day.
It depends on most athletes do what we called pre-meet warm-ups the day before their meet. Basically, you do your warm-up routine the way you will do it at the meet.
Take a couple of starts and just getting your mindset for your event. That takes no more than 45 mins. Now, if you have an injury and your not 100%, then do your Therapy. But I wouldn’t do anything at all. Unless there is a conflict during the time, you should be on track.
I usually recommend doing what typically would be “warm-up” that one would do on the day of the meet. Short jog, stretching, a few strides. Just enough to get the heart and breathing rates up a bit and to break a small sweat. This would be for the running events from 800 to 5000m.
Rest is a good idea, but that does not mean complete rest. An easy run followed by stretching or an easy workout routine to tune up the body is a good idea.
I wouldn’t do anything like a regular training or workout schedule that will strain your muscles, which is not a good idea before a meet.
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