You can get good gains from doing nothing, you may be better off steering clear of gel packs and blisters can be a very bad sign; the tips for making it through a big race are rather surprising.
The Sydney Morning Herald half marathon is on this Sunday. Nearly half a million dollars have been raised and more than 12,000 people have registered to run.
The oldest participant is 80 while the youngest is under 10.
It's a diverse mix but there is one thing many are likely to have in common.
A recent study by Baptist University found that a third of half-marathon runners are alarmingly underprepared to race.
If that applies to you, then it's too late to start now.
"There's nothing to gain from cramming," says physiotherapist Jason Smith, founder of Back In Motion Health Group and author of Get Yourself Back In Motion.
"The biggest risk the [average runner] faces is over-training in the few days before the event."
He recommends no more than a light jog or two this late in the game. Rather, Smith has some other, rather surprising, suggestions to help you prepare, race and recover well at this point.
Completely switching off and sleeping, for instance, can put the extra spring in your step come race day. That is of course, assuming you have done a degree of training and been preparing physically (otherwise it's probably worth reconsidering running in the first place).
"There's so much to gain from doing nothing in bed," says Smith, who suggests a minimum of nine hours a night in the lead-up to a big race.
"Sleep is one of the primary tenets of optimal performance. It's essential for the body's hormonal function, recharging the adrenals and tissue repair. When we're sleep-deprived we perform at a sub-optimal level."
The caveat here is that chilling out in front of the telly doesn't count. "You're still being stimulated," he explains.
Yoga and stretching, however are beneficial. "They still keep the body active and physically tuned, but you're not using your glycogen stores or risking injury.
Nutrition is equally important.
Good fluid intake (that's water obviously, not beer) and eating carb-rich foods including pasta, potatoes and starchy vegetables while keeping fats and proteins to a minimum are Smith's suggestions.
"Also, avoid all the ''sometimes'' foods," he advises, pointing out that it is a misconception that getting your carbs or an energy hit from sugary foods before a race is productive.
"It's violating the common sense principle," he says. "Besides, there are too many other ingredients in those foods that are counterproductive."
Unless you're up a good couple of hours before the race to eat a proper breakfast, Smith suggests having only a banana, handful of nuts or a muesli bar at least an hour before the race.
Some dynamic stretching including circling the ankles and leg-kicks are recommended, unless you have an injury, in which case Smith says you need to have a tailored warm-up.
A very basic race strategy might involve dividing the race into three parts; going the slowest for the first third of the race, the fastest during the middle and somewhere between the two for the final leg.
He says consuming gel packs or sports drinks before or during the race may hinder rather than help you if you haven't tried them before.
"Everybody has a slightly different tolerance for the salts and nutrients [they contain]," he explains. "Running a race is not the time to try new things."
This theory applies to your trainers.
Ideally, if you want new shoes, he says a month out from the race is the time to buy. "Otherwise, you're better off in your old, worn-out pair."
As far as niggles to take note of, if you are experiencing any in the lower back, groin, hip, knee, achilles tendon, calf or arch of the foot, they are likely to amplify over a 10-kilometre-plus run, Smith warns.
Blisters can also signal a more significant issue.
"They're a tell-tale sign that the foot is not behaving in the shoe in an optimal way," Smith explains. "Why is the foot pushing that way [to create blisters] in the first place?"
If it's because the shoe is a bad fit, that's equally concerning. "It's rarely the distance that causes injury, but the footwear," he says.
"More traditional, static stretching has a role to play here," Smith says.
He suggests spending around 15 minutes working your way around the body: stretching the archilles tendon, the calf, hamstrings, glutes, quads and lower back allowing 30 seconds to a minute for each stretch.
Refuelling with plenty of fluids here is important as is having a good meal to load up depleted glycogen stores.
Gradually introduce fats and proteins back into the diet over the next 48 hours and give your body space to recover.
"If you recover well, a light run the next day - two to three kilometres - is fine to run out lactic acid build-up, but you wouldn't be doing anything strenuous."
His preference would be doing no more than yoga, stretching and perhaps a spot of swimming for the following few days.
"The bod needs diversity of activity or you're punishing the same physiological structures," he says.
And when you're ready to think about racing again, he says it's important to remember that performance in a race is mostly a reflection on life fitness. It's not about one day or even the few days of cramming before.
"It is an accumulation of making good decisions every day," he says. "Life fitness is what gives us longevity and vitality. It is the foundation on which race fitness is built.
If you're looking for tunes to keep you on the move, try Spotify's 'Ultimate Workout Playlist':