Tips on preparing for your competition

Valentin Belz 8. September 2016

The popular autumn runs are just around the corner. You now need to try do everything right as you prepare for your competition. We have summarized the most important tips to make sure you are optimally prepared when you stand at the starting line - so your competition will be a success!  

  • Plan your competition over the long term and prepare yourself accordingly
    Choose your competitions early on and then make sure your preparation meets the requirements with regards to the competition’s duration and terrain.
  • Test your fitness level at one preparatory competition at least
    To ensure all goes well during your big main goal, we recommend at least one "trial run" in advance. You can read more here.
  • Work out a realistic target time and pace for the competition
    If you know how well you are able to perform, you can work out a realistic end time or choose your competition pace accordingly. This will thus give you the assurance that you still have sufficient energy to get ahead in the second half and enjoy the race.
  • Increase your hours of recovery and sleep
    Avoid stress and strenuous evening activities. Make sure that you will be rested when you stand at the starting line by reserving time for daily micro-breaks and by sleeping more than usual.
  • Check the registration documents
    Has everything worked out well with the registration? Have you received the confirmation? It's worth checking everything over again at least one week before the competition to avoid any nasty surprises.
  • Cultivate positive thoughts
    Races are decided in the mind. Look forward to the challenge and prepare your mind for the day of competition and difficult racing situations, if necessary.
  • No experiments
    The closer the competition, the greater the nervousness. Instead of following a tried and tested preparation plan, many take risks by experimenting or try to make up lost ground. While this may perhaps have positive effects mentally, you will find you pay for it during the race. When it comes to training and nutrition, stick to the tried and tested.
  • Reduce your training during the week of the competition
    It is possible to train too much in the final week before a competition and tire yourself out unnecessarily. Instead, see to it that you reduce your training by 40-60% of your normal workload and do all that you can to achieve a pre-race state of relaxation. This does not mean that you should stop running. On the contrary! But you really should avoid long and/or burdensome units during the week of the competition.
  • Don’t leave your legs in the lurch
    Reducing your training does not mean omitting it completely! It is more a case of maintaining your fitness level by undertaking short units and a final intensive unit at least four days before the competition.

Training proposal for the competition week:

3-4 sessions a week

7 days before Steady run <60min
6 days before Day of rest
5 days before
5 kilometres: 10min warm-up / 8x 1 min at the speed you would run a 5 km competition with a 90 sec recovery jog / 10min cool down
10 kilometres: 10min warm-up / 2-3x 6 min at the speed you would run a 10 km competition with a 3 min recovery jog / 10min cool down
Halbmarathon: 10min warm-up / 2 x 15 min at the speed you would run a half marathon competition with a 5 min recovery jog / 10min cool down
Marathon: 10min warm-up / 20 min at the speed you would run a marathon competition / 10min cool down
4 days before Day of rest
3 days before Day of rest
2 days before Day of rest
1 day before Easy steady run 20-30 min followed by 3-5 strides*

>4 sessions a week

7 days before Steady run <75min
6 days before Steady run 45 min followed by 3-5 strides*
5 days before
5 kilometres: 10min warm-up / 8x 1 min at the speed you would run a 5 km competition with a 90 sec recovery jog / 10min cool down
10 kilometres: 10min warm-up / 2-3x 6 min at the speed you would run a 10 km competition with a 3 min recovery jog / 10min cool down
Halbmarathon: 10min warm-up / 2 x 15 min at the speed you would run a half marathon competition with a 5 min recovery jog / 10min cool down
Marathon: 10min warm-up / 20 min at the speed you would run a marathon competition / 10min cool down
4 days before Recovery run 40 min
3 days before Steady run 40 min followed by 3-5 strides*
2 days before Day of rest
1 day before Easy steady run 20-30 min followed by 3-5 strides*

*Strides: Over a distance of 80-100 meters, the pace is continously increased up to the maximum speed. Break between strides: about 1min.