How to Prepare for a Championship Race with Steph Twell
Written By: Steph Twell
In the second instalment of a two-part interview, Steph discusses how she prepares for her races and what it’s like to run in a race at her level.
How did you find your 10K race at Doha?
Running in Doha was such a memorable experience! Partly because it felt like I was running with a hairdryer in my face, but mainly because it was also my first ever 10km Championship race.
Despite the tough conditions and commentary on the low crowds, as a long-distance event; for once the longer distances weren’t in the shadows. Doha residents really seemed to have an appetite for the longer events and I am pleased to have finished 15th in the world over a 10k distance.
What’s going through your mind when you are racing at a championship like Doha?
I really knew that this event and the Championships was going to be a step up in competition, so half the time I’m thinking what will be my best strategy against the best in the world! Even though I am competing well at a domestic and European level, it’s very inspiring to be around even better female athletes, who can show me what the human body can do.
It’s then crucial to stick to my own race plan and focus on staying relaxed and switching the mind off for as long as possible in 25 laps.
How do you prepare in the week before a race? What do you feel is the most important aspect of it?
It’s easier said than done, but to RELAX! The last week is really about getting as much quality rest in as it is finalising your last training sessions. It’s about not over-doing it and squeezing out too much in your last sessions (even if you start feeling good on a taper). It’s all about regular early nights, eating well and being surrounded by good energy. This may also mean focusing on some me time, like listening to my favourite music, reading, writing or colouring to prevent your mind from over-thinking. I also like to get my nails done on the lead up to the race!
What do you tend to eat in the lead up to a race and post-race?
Typically, if I’m at home, my pre-race go-to is salmon, rice, beetroot and rocket with a balsamic glaze. I find that this is light enough but also has the best carb/protein and anti-oxidant hit and doesn’t making me feel heavy like pasta sometimes can.
On the day of a race, I’ll either have porridge with berries or a bagel with a banana and peanut butter. A black coffee and scrambled eggs also normally does the trick. Sometimes I may need something sweet too so I might include Scotch pancakes or sweets to give me that boost.
What trainers do you currently wear for your races?
How do those trainers help your running?
I chose to wear the 1400s because they are really supportive but light enough that I still feel safe in them. The MD800s on the other hand, have a great spike plate which pushes me on my toes for the times when I am on the track.