By now you should be well and truly into your pre-race taper. As your kilometers have decreased, your body is able to store away some of the fuel that you are putting in ready for race day. This is part of the reason that we taper, but also to allow the stress and fatigue to subside, and so we feel fresh and springy on the day.

In these next few days (up until Friday) make sure you are taking on board some good complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include things like kumara, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, wild rice and oats. These give you a nice slow release of energy as opposed to sugary carbohydrates like biscuits, cakes and cookies.

If you want to really up your game, you could also throw in some healthy green smoothies (kale, spinach, celery etc.) but make sure they don’t have dairy in them as too much dairy can upset many people’s stomachs and increase mucus – two things we don’t want on race day.

When you get to Friday afternoon and Saturday, you can start lowering the amount of complex carbohydrates you are eating – don’t eliminate them but just cut them back. Keep away from junk food, avoid loads of fibre (as this increases bulk in your stomach) and as above, keep dairy to a minimum. Your carbohydrate stores should be pretty full by now and as you will have minimal exercise over the next couple of days, minimal carbohydrates should keep you topped up and ready to go. I would also stay away from too much bread – opting more for the likes of kumara and brown rice – both foods I eat as a pre-race meal.

My pre-race dinner is normally either a small piece of salmon with kumara, or chicken and brown rice, and if I really want a snack, I’ll have an oat cracker with peanut butter. This is not a time to binge eat on pizza and biscuits – in fact that’s one of the worst things you can do. If you really want an “I’ve earned it” treat, save it for dinner on Sunday night.

The morning of the event, make sure you are getting that pre-race meal in at least 2 hours before your starting time. Although this may mean getting up a little earlier, it gives your stomach a good amount of time to start the digestion process so it’s no all sitting in your gut when the gun goes off.

Have at least 500mL of water before you start to race.

Once you have finished your event, congratulate yourself! Get a good 500mL of water or electrolyte in after, and make sure you have a meal of some sort within an hour. You might start with something like a smoothie, then a little later on have a proper meal like a salad and chicken wrap. Make sure these meals are full of vegetables or salad and fruit – all the good stuff to help your body start the repair process. Remember, save that treat meal for dinner that night if you really want to reward yourself with food. Let your body start the recovery process before you stress it with poor nutrition.