This was originally posted on January 15, 2013 by Natalya
Are you planning on racing this weekend? If yes, you need to modify your training program somewhat.
You last day of intensity should be on Tuesday if your first race is on Saturday. Wednesday can be an easy day or moderate day. Two days before you first race, e.g. Thursday, take the day off from training (no strength either) and get ready for the race (prepare the clothing you will need, your race bag, what race food/drink you will need, clean your skis and glide wax them). Get a good night’s sleep two days before the race, because you will probably be nervous and getting ready the night before and won’t sleep as well. On the day before the race, you can go for a short ski (e.g. 30 min) and do some tune-up sprints 3-5 x 30 sec sprints with 2 min or more rest between. You could go ski the course and practice the tricky parts, so you know them. If your race is classic, you can put on your base binder the night before, but wait for race morning and being on site to see the snow, before you put on your actual race wax. Give yourself lots of time to arrive at the race site, find parking, test kick waxes, apply final wax, warm up, hitting the outhouses, and getting to the start area, taking off your warm-ups, taking energy drink or food if necessary and getting to the start line. Write down a schedule for yourself starting the day before the race right up to the start time. You will be nervous, so rather than having to think about where you should be when, just follow your schedule. Get to the start line with 5 min to spare. And then smile, go hard and have a blast.
After your race, put on your warm-ups right away, get some food and liquids into you to recover as quickly as possible. The most important thing you can do to recover from your race is to eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates right after the race, within a 60 minute window. Every 5 min you delay eating lengthens your recovery time by a much longer margin. Do a short cool down ski and then go home and continue with your recovery routine (shower, change, eat again, stretch, etc), particularly if you are racing again the next day. Congratulate yourself, take stock of how your race went and what you might do differently to improve the next time, but don’t dwell on the past or the race you just did, particularly if you will be racing again soon.