Whether it be State or National Championships, Olympic trials or a local club meet, your preparation before a big meet can be just as important as the months of training preceding it. Here are some useful tips covering nutrition, rest and activation to help you slash those PBs!
1. Eating Right
Making sure your body has the energy it needs to perform at its best is key in swimming fast. Eating the right amount at the right time can make you feel more energized and less sluggish come race time.
- Eat a meal high in carbohydrates the night before to top up glycogen stores (ie. whole wheat pasta with meat or a sweet potato mash).
- Have a top up meal around 3h before your race that is high in carbohydrates such as whole grain cereal or a wholegrain sandwich.
- Stay hydrated! Drink a glass of water when you wake up and another glass every 3h throughout the day.
2. Sleeping right
Getting a good night’s sleep before a big race is often harder than it sounds. All the nervous energy and stress can often prevent you from getting the rest you need. Here are some tips to make sure you can get to sleep before a big race:
- Aim for around 8-10h sleep each night in the week leading to the competition.
- Wind down early the afternoon before; turn off electronics, have a bath/shower and try some relaxing activities such as reading or stretching to help reduce pre-competition anxiety.
- Plan to wake up at least 3h before your race to give your body time to wake up and re-fuel.
- If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, try calm your mind by breathing deeply, listening to relaxing music or counting backwards.
3. Activating right
You’ve done all the training, you’ve prepared yourself in the best way possible by eating and sleeping correctly, the last step is to warm-up and activate correctly to get your muscles firing.
- Have an established routine that you are confident with. It should involve dry-land active stretching and muscle activation, and an event-specific warm up tailored for your distance and stroke.
- Know the timing of everything! Planning out your timeline of events can reduce unnecessary stress and allow you to warm up to the best of your ability. Know the time of your race, how long warm up and getting changed will take, as well as allowing time for marshalling and unexpected changes. This can help you decide how early to arrive before your race and help minimise the chance of missing your race!
After you’ve done all this preparation, you can put your mind to rest knowing that you’ve given yourself every chance possible to perform at your best, so the last thing you need to do is give it your all!