Quins and England No 9 Danny Care gives us a glimpse of his pre-match fitness routine
The day before a game I set the alarm for 9am, so I get a bit of a lie-in. For breakfast I’ll have porridge with fruit, and maybe some yoghurt, and I’ll be at the Stoop for a team run by 10am.
During this 30-minute session, the forwards will practise the lineout, and then we’ll all do 20 minutes of team drills. After the session I’ll stay out for another 20 minutes with the other match-day scrum-half, and do ten passes off each hand, followed by 10-15 kicks.
Lunch, at about midday, consists of a chicken breast, or some lasagne or some sort of pasta, with vegetables. I’ll have a bit of fruit for dessert.
Then I go home and chill out for the rest of the day. Usually I like to watch television or do some shopping, or anything that gets me to wind down and take my mind off the game. The evening is an extension of this, and I’m normally in bed by 11pm after a quiet evening. I live near Jordan Turner-Hall, so he sometimes comes over the night before a game to watch a movie.
On the morning of a game I’ll get up at 10am, so I’ve had a good long sleep. I have a similar breakfast to the previous day, but won’t eat much else before the game. If kick-off’s at 3pm, I might have a sandwich at midday, but I tend to feel sick if I eat too much before a match.
If we’re playing away, we all meet at the Stoop to travel on the coach together, but for a home game everyone has to be there an hour and a half before kick-off. I give myself an hour and 45 minutes so I can chill out and listen to music.
Being properly hydrated is essential, so I’ll drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks. I can get cramp, so I take a sachet of Dioralyte before a game, or some salty water to keep my levels high.
I go onto the pitch an hour before kick-off with the other scrum-half and do some skills work, and get myself ready for the team warm-up. That takes about 25 minutes, and the rest of the team come out with half an hour to go. I do some kicking, passing, and sharpening or speed drills to get myself firing. I always kick a drop-goal before I go back in. Sometimes I get it over, sometimes I don’t!
I only start thinking about the game five minutes before kick-off. We think about it as a team during the week, but while I’m preparing I switch off as much as possible.
Get plenty of sleep