Getting ready for a stair climbing race takes a lot of tough physical and also mental preparation.
Whatever level you are at, whether your a beginner stair climber or advanced stair climber there are specific strategies that you should employ to help you achieve your personal best on race day.
This article will only look at the last week or so before the competition, not the months leading up to the race.
Last Week Mental Preparation
Lets say the stair race is Saturday morning at 9 am. We must be able to come into this race feeling completely relaxed and confident.
When I race there are a lot of competitors who are nervous, or unsure of how quick they will race up the building. Many competitors are even questioning their own abilities before the race even starts!
I never race like this. You must come into the race 100 percent mentally focused. Especially in a stair race where 80 percent of the race is mental! Even if you are not the fastest, you must act like you are. Take control of your emotions!
If you are doubting yourself in your mind, the race is over before it has even begun. You should of worked on this during the physical preparation towards the race.
You should really begin mental preparations throughout your training, but during the last week, this is very important.
Make sure to do a lot of mental visualizations during the week. Especially as you fall asleep and wake up. Picture yourself climbing up those stairs as quick as possible, no pain in your legs, as fast as you can. Whatever images evoke feelings of confidence use them!
The day before the race your mind should be quiet and still. You know what you have to do. The body should feel relaxed. If you have done your tapering week right your legs should feel dynamite.
Taper for Better Results.
Your last hard stair climbing workout should be one full week out from the race. Your legs, Central Nervous System and all other musculature need a good rest considering all the hard workouts they have been through.
Many people train right up until Wednesday or Thursday of the event. However the body cannot completely recover with only two days rest. If you wait till the last minute to cut your training down the systems of the body will not have a chance to recover and you will end up going slower then you thought.
Here is a typical tapering scenario. You may alter this to fit your training week.
SATURDAY - Stair Run Time Trial OR Last "Long Stair Climb Training"
SUNDAY - DAY OFF
MONDAY - Last full body conditioning workout (30 minutes, stretch 30 minutes)
TUESDAY - 30 minutes light cardio - (stretch for a minimum of 30 minutes)
WEDNESDAY - Upper body conditioning only - 20 minutes, 10 minutes light cardio, 30 minutes stretcing
THURSDAY - DAY OFF
FRIDAY - Light spin on stationary bike - 20 minutes 40 minutes of stretching
SATURDAY - RACE DAY
This Tapering week allows for adequate recovery of both the CNS and the Muscular System and still allows you to do some light training. This system helps to loosen up the body and keep it relaxed for race day.
Stretching is one of the last things athletes think about. Yet it can help you better your time by minutes!
Because tight muscles do not contract properly limiting their range of motion. Think about how your hips help you climb stairs. If your hip flexors and the surrounding hip musculature are tight do you think that you will be able to climb up a flight of stairs efficiently? You won't be as efficient as you could be.
Therefore it is important to make sure you include stretching in every single workout and stretch more the week leading up to the event!
Increase Carbohydrates Slightly
We are not running a marathon, but you should increase your carbohydrate intake slightly starting no later then Wednesday morning.
After all the hard training that you have done for the event, a slight increase in carbohydrate intake will just help reload your muscles with needed glycogen (fuel) for the race.
You want to keep your carbohydrate intake under control. Do not shovel loads of pasta into your system. Divide your carbohydrates out evenly throughout the day and taper your carbohydrate intake down around 6pm.
Use a carbohydrate source that your system agrees with. Oatmeal, brown rice, and yams are all good choices. Stay away from white pasta, white potatoes and white bread. These foods are too processed and will spike your blood sugars to quickly, possibly leading to water retention which will slow you down.
This is a fun event after all! Go out there and give it your all, but in the end have a good time and after your finished give yourself a pat on the back and smile! Not many people can do what you just did!
If you have any questions regarding getting ready for a stair climbing event please contact me!
In True Health
The Canada StairClimbing Association