Being fresh with good form before a race is important – you need to get your mind and body primed and ready to race.

The primary goal in the final day before a race is to prime the body to perform at its peak level. Making sure all the body’s interconnected systems are functioning as efficiently and effectively as possible. The neuromuscular system is sending signals back and forth quickly between the muscles and the brain. The muscles are full of glycogen and able to activate the maximum percentage of their fibres and fire them forcefully, and your heart is ready to pump oxygen-rich blood where it’s needed.

In the days before a race, the gains you’ve made from training will stick around for some time, where in contrast, the neuromuscular system (the communication system between your brain and your muscles) requires constant stimulation because the growth and recovery cycle of the neuromuscular system is very short. The best way to optimise rowing specific neuromuscular communication, is to do a short row/erg, the day before your race with some short bursts at or near race pace. 

What to do

The final day before the race, row/ergo for 30-45 minutes. When you have warmed up, include two to three 10-15 stroke bursts at race pace to facilitate optimal neuromuscular coordination on race day. Allow for a 5-minute easy paddle between bursts.

Avoid spending any unnecessary time on your feet today and get a good night’s sleep.


Eat a well-balanced and natural carbohydrate based meal for lunch and dinner the day before race day to maximise  muscle glycogen stores. The best time to start replenishing glycogen stores is right after your short, fast workout, when your muscles are most receptive to glucose. Keep well hydrated and sip water as desired.

For the pre-race meal, check out my Race Day Breakfast here.

Image from World Championship 2019, © Detlev Seyb/