Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Helpful How-To: Prepping for a Long Run

Several of you have been asking me about my race....

About the things that made it easier.

The things that made it fun.

And the things that made it survivable.

And I pretty much spelled it out for you in my post race recap, here.

But in case that wasn't "clear as mud", I have decided to put it into an HHT to break the details down for those of you who are running long races in the next few weeks/months.

Because I know, there are alot of you.

And although I don't know it all, I know what helped me.

So here goes....

1.  Carb loading.

Remember what you eat the night before can and will affect your race.  Be wise with your decisions.  Don't pull a Michael Scott, K? 

We had whole wheat pasta with veggies and pizza.  Keep in mind that you need carbs, but fiber will keep things moving.  Confused?  I'll explain it at 3.

2.  Eat breakfast.  

The hardest part of eating breakfast is knowing when and what to eat pre-race. 

I wanted a combination of complex carbs and protein, but I was staying in a cheap motel on the Jersey Shore that had a limited breakfast bar. 

My breakfast of choice?  A banana, cup of yogurt and half a cup of OJ.  Then, right before the race, I had 2 bites of Justin's power bar.  Don't ask me why.  He had it, was trying to get rid of it and I was nervous.

Another thing to think about eating before a big race, you don't wanna eat right before you run.  The food needs to be in there, but settled. 

So eat at least a good hour or 2 before your race starts.

3. Go #2.

And yes, I mean - POOP. 

I know, I know.  For my regular readers, seeing the 4 letter word out there is just gross. 

But for those of you who run, you get it. 

Poop is a big aspect of running.  If you don't do it pre-run you will hate yourself halfway through. 

There is nothing worse than getting 3 miles into a run and realizing you have something weighing you down.

So please, for your own sake, go stand in line at the a couple jumping jacks if necessary...and then do your business.

You will be so glad you did.

4.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Personally, I think it's just smarter to carry a water bottle loaded with Gatorade through your race.

And to take a little something at every water station.

Especially as it gets hotter. 

(Last night, I went on a 5.5 mile run and ended up with a cramp at mile 4....)

I opted for a rotation of water, gatorade, water, gatorade.

No, I didn't get both at every station.  But water at the first, then gatorade at the next, and so on.

I know I probably don't need to explain this to you runners, but in case there are some newbies out there...the gatorade will help you retain your fluids a little better than water.

And in this case, you actually do want to retain as much as possible to keep your muscles happy.

5.  Mental Preparation.

I know this sounds ridiculous. 

But I would say 90% of running a long race is mental.

I set mental goals for myself.

I knew the goal time I wanted. 

I knew I wanted to run the entire time.

And I knew that I could do anything for 2 hours. 

I mean, I was in labor for longer than that.

Even if you are opting for something longer.  Like a full marathon or a 25k, it's still less time than you spend at work everyday.

Set a comfortable pace and keep your mind in it every step.

6.  Energy Maintenance

Do you use gels?

Practically everyone there was using them, but I was too cheap and lazy to try to find them.

Let's face it, I am cheap and lazy when I want to be.

So I opted for something I could grab in the check out line at Walmart - Starburst.

And I counted out one for each mile.

Yes, they are annoying to unwrap.  But hey, I'm lazy and's the price I pay.

And they worked just fine.

I didn't leave the race feeling like I wanted to pass out for the next 6 days.

And I was still able to walk.

Albeit, my steps were no longer fluid...I did move a little like this guy...

But my legs weren't floppy like jello and never once did I get "the shakes".

So Starburst = success!!!

7. Pacing.

If you don't guage your pace, you will probably hate yourself 2 miles into the race, after the initial rush of adrenalin has worn off and you have been running a 7 minute mile with the old people who you should definitely be able to run faster than.

Um.  You should probably face the fact that you can't.  And slow down.

For me, I was willing to fork over the extra $4.99 to pay for Elite Runkeeper status for a the month.  If you have a smart phone, this would be my best suggestion for you.

Elite status will allow others to track your status and pace online.  As well as give you the extra insurance you need that the program will work for you on race day. 

Otherwise, here are some other options that you can use...

I have been coveting this Garmin watch since my first 5k.

But at $128, it's just too rich for my newly running blood.

I just can't justify it.  YET.

So I settled for this...

My Tech4O is a nice substitute. 

And I got mine for $38 on 

So yeah.

But you will need to recalibrate it to your race pace if you are planning on using it on race day.

8.  Stretch AND Twist

Stretching is one thing.

And we all do it.

But watching my new friend Ashley prep for our race I learned some things.

She didn't just stretch.

She rolled her ankles around and around to loosen them up.

She bent her knees and rocked forward on her feet then back on her heels, while straightening her legs, to loosen up her knees. (If you have never done this, oh my!  what a difference!!!!)

She twisted side to side.

She rolled her shoulders.

And as soon as she turned her back, I started trying it too.

What?  I couldn't let her see me copying her!

But by the time the race started, other than my nervous tension, my body was loose as a goose.

And to be honest, I think that's the last tip I have for you.

That's all that you can really prep with.

I could spout on about your headphones/headset.

I could prattle about Pandora.

And Lady Gaga.

I could tell you to get caught up in the excitement of the race and let your feet keep moving.

I could tell you any number of things, but I think that the best thing to close this post with is this.

The most important thing I can say to you come race day is to

       RUN   YOUR   OWN   RACE.

And enjoy every mile.

1 comment:

tarynddavidson said...

all very good:) and smart!
i did buy the Gu - the coffee flavored one was yummo and was just what i needed... i think i ate one every 3-4 miles.