How to Prepare the Week of a Track Meet
Sticking to the status quo the week before a track meet can aid in mental and physical preparation for the competition. Though you will want to reduce the volume of your workouts to preserve energy, following your normal routine as much as possible can help to keep your muscles activated -- and your nerves calm -- in those final days before the meet. A fueled, rested and recharged body can help you to move faster than your competitors and win the race.
Maintain the same training schedule for the four to seven days before a meet but decrease the volume of your practice sessions. If you normally do sprint training on Mondays, for example, stick to that schedule; maintain the speed of your sprints but perform about 30 percent fewer sprints than normal. Continue to decrease strenuous activity as you progress through the week, especially the three days before the meet since sore muscles can occur within 48 to 72 hours of a workout or training session.
Drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids, such as sports drinks, throughout the week to stay hydrated. Muscles that are dehydrated can fatigue quickly and interfere with your performance during the track meet. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Consume water before, during and after your training sessions.
Eat as you normally would during the training season. Your body has likely become used to the particular amount of calories that you regularly consume; sticking to that amount can help to keep your energy levels even. Avoid trying new foods the week before a meet; foods that disagree with your stomach may impede your performance.
Bring snacks that combine complex carbs and protein to the track meet. You may be hungry before or after your competition; having healthy snacks on hand can help to keep your energy up. Try apple slices with peanut butter, turkey with whole wheat bread or cheese on whole grain crackers.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule in the week before a meet. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your performance during competition. The average adult needs between seven and eight hours of sleep, but athletes may need slightly more, possibly up to 10 hours, to aid in physical recovery.
Work on your mental attitude along with your physical well-being. Staying mentally strong can help you to push through the rigors of competition. Quell any negative thoughts the week before a meet and replace them with positive affirmations. Validate your ability and remember that all the time put into practice will pay off at the meet.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.