A game plan for the Greater Clarksburg 10K can be just as important as a game plan for the Super Bowl or World Series.
And with just more than a month left before the big race, this is what Keiba Shaw and Ken Tubillega of the West Virginia University sports psychology program emphasized Tuesday night at the weekly 10 Weeks to the 10K meeting.
"One of the main things is having specific goals in mind, such as a race time or setting a (personal record)" Shaw said. "What do you want to meet? What is the purpose of running this race?"
Shaw and Tubillega also discussed how to visualize race strategy and breaking down the course into smaller segments.
"You definitely need to have some sort of visualization or imagery for the race," Tubillega said. "In order for this to be most beneficial to the runner, you need to practice it. Seeing is believing, and believing is achieving. You only get to that part of achieving through practice. It needs to become a part of training and a part of your routine."
The two gave advice on how to prepare for the race at the one month, one week and one day marks.
With one month to go, the game plan for the race needs to start taking form, if it hasn't done so already, Tubillega said. Runners need to formulate the exact steps necessary to achieve their desired goal.
One week before the race, runners need to start tapering off in their physical preparation, he said.
"What some people will do is overtrain and get stressed out," Tubillega said. "Their focus won't be on the correct things. They need to start relaxing a little bit, and making sure they're healthy physically. If they don't, they won't be any good for the race.
"If you're injured, get rest. It's much better to be healthy and be able to run than not to have goals and race a poor race."
The day before the event, runners need to think about things that might have been lost in the training shuffle, he said.
"They need to know exactly when the race is going to be, and when they need to check in," Tubillega said. "Sometimes people don't even think about who they should give their clothes to before the race. We also emphasize getting good rest and taking care of nutrition and using those things to gain a peak performance."
It's also important to know what time runners plan on getting up the day of the race and what time they expect to show up, Shaw said. She gave advice all the way up to the final minute before the race.
"There are basic things such as getting your shoes out and clothes out prior to the race," Shaw said. "General warm-up strategy is 10 minutes before the race, go for a light jog. You shouldn't be going for a jog a minute before the race."
Sports writer Rob Peirce can be reached at 626-1444