Sounds as if you may have contracted the insidious disease that creeps up on all of us when we least expect it and then changes our lives forever—age. No matter how much we dread it and fight against it, it infects us all. We still want to do the things we could do at a younger age, and many times we are able to do them, but we find it takes much longer for us to recover afterwards. As we get older it, we need more recovery time after intense physical activity. Also, we must be more aware of dehydration.
When you are training, you must constantly drink water, lots of water. You may not be thirsty and you may not be sweating very much but your muscles are still losing water, so your aches and pains intensify and it will take longer to recover. On tournament day, start drinking water in the morning and continuously keep drinking water before, during, and after the competition. If you are sweating profusely, you may want to substitute a sport drink occasionally to replace electrolytes, but primarily drink water. Drink water even when not thirsty. You will find your energy level will stay high longer and that you will recover more quickly in the following days. The same holds true for training sessions. As you get older, your body cannot work as efficiently as in the past and you need the extra water.
You will not be able to increase your sparring skills and physical abilities appreciably in the next few days before the tournament, so don’t bother. Rest, eat properly, train lightly, and think a lot about what you what to do at the tournament and how you will do it.
As you get older, no matter how much you hate to admit it, your reflexes get slower. In the beginning the slow down is so gradual that you don’t realize it, but you start noticing how quick your younger opponents have become. It is not so much that they are getting faster, it is that you are getting slower. Your prime physical age is at about age 30. People approaching that age train hard and every day they get better. Once you pass that age, everyday is another day past your prime. If you train hard, you may slow the rate of decline, but you will still decline.