Choosing A Goal That Will Ensure Success
If this is the first official walking or running event that you’ve ever signed up for, make your goal to finish the distance. One of the biggest mistakes people make is setting a time goal from the very start. Regardless of the amount of time that it takes you to finish the Walk, 5K or 10K course, you have a wonderful opportunity to have an amazingly satisfying experience. When someone sets a time goal and misses it, even by a few seconds, it can make something that is a great accomplishment feel like less.
Another common goal that people make is to “not walk”. It’s perfectly okay to walk and often a great way to reserve enough energy to make it to the finish line. Almost all first-time marathoners (and many seasoned) walk and it’s not considered cheating. By not creating that goal you can allow yourself to walk with your head high because you are still moving towards that finish line and about to achieve something that most people don’t try.
So let’s make our goal to get to the FINISH line – regardless of how fast we go or how we get there…. Let’s get there together and raise as much as we can for the Steeplechase Cancer Center.
These are very simple safety tips that we all know, but it never hurts to be reminded.
- When possible try to workout with a training partner. It will be more fun and safer.
- Consider carrying your cell phone in case of an emergency. The tune belt is ideal for this…. And quite fashionable. www.amazon.com/Tune-Belt-Sport-iPhone-Blackberry/dp/B000M51T12
- Be sure to tell someone or write down where you plan on walking/running and when you expect to return.
- Consider carrying a form of ID with emergency contact info and any allergies you may have. Road ID has great products. www.roadid.com
- Avoid wearing headphones. The more alert and aware you are of your environment, the less vulnerable you are. The Tune belt mentioned above is great for carrying an iPod with a speaker.
- Avoid unpopulated areas, lonely trails and poorly lit areas.
- Vary your route and/or time of day that you train.
- Run/Walk against traffic.
- Avoid getting close to cars asking for directions or the time of day.
- Wear reflective material so motorists can spot you more easily.
- Be conscious of weather conditions. Do your best to coordinate your workout around the weather even if it means getting up early. Carry water, drink early and often, and listen to your body. Heat does funny things so give your self permission to slow down.
SURVIVING THE HEAT
Summer is a great time to train. However, the heat and humidity can play havoc on your workout. The warmer the weather, the more challenging it becomes to adequately cool your body. Heart rates are higher and breathing is more rapid than at your normal pace. The body has to work double time in the heat. The good news is there are a few tricks for beating the heat and getting in your workouts this summer.
1. TRAIN EARLY IN THE MORNING OR EVENING (OR INSIDE)
It's the coolest, most serene part of the day, and there's nothing like a morning workout to boost your mood all day long. If the morning doesn't work for you, the long daylight hours make for lots of evening options.
If there is a heat alert or poor air quality day, take your workout indoors. You won't get any super-human reward for pushing in dangerous heat and it most likely will take your body longer to recover from the workout. Train smart!
2. DRINK LIKE CRAZY
Even if you don't feel thirsty, drink at least 8 oz. of fluid each hour, and more if you're outside or tend to perspire a lot. You'll have a better workout with adequate fluid intake, and you'll feel better, too. By keeping your water storage high, you'll also improve your body's cooling mechanisms.
For workouts shorter than 45 minutes, water works just fine. For longer workouts, research suggests consuming about a cup of sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes to fuel your muscles and maintain electrolyte levels.
3. ACCLIMATE WITH CARE
You need to acclimate to the heat in a safe and gradual manner, not haphazardly. For the first two weeks of hot weather, do no speed sessions and keep your midday workouts to 30 easy minutes at most. (You can go longer on cool mornings or evenings.) In 10 days to two weeks, you should be fully acclimated. Your body will gradually become better at cooling itself in the warmer weather allowing you to continue to train at your normal pace.
4. GO LIGHT AND LOOSE
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. The former will reflect the sun's rays better; the latter will enable you to take advantage of any breeze, including the one you make by moving. The new sports-specific synthetics are better than cotton; they stay drier and wick moisture better than natural fibers do.
5. SCREEN IT OUT
To protect yourself from skin cancer and other skin damage, use waterproof sunscreen liberally. Do so even on partly cloudy days; cloud cover does not block harmful ultraviolet rays. Another benefit: Sunscreen can decrease your skin and body temperatures, so you'll stay cooler during exercise. Wear sunglasses that filter UVA and UVB rays, and a hat or visor to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.
6. MAXIMIZE HEAD ROOM
You lose a major portion of body heat through your head, which is bad in winter but good in summer. So on hot days, don't cover your head tightly with a hat. Cover it, for sure, but with a loose-fitting hat, preferably made of mesh or some other breathable material.
7. POUR IT ON
There's nothing like the psychological relief of pouring cold water over your head during a hot workout. But don't depend on it to keep your body temperature down, because it won't. To help you cool down, you need to drink water.
8. START SLOWLY
Starting your workout slowly is particularly beneficial on hot days. The slower you start, the longer you'll keep your body heat from reaching the misery threshold. If you normally train at an eight-minute mile pace, for example, do your first mile at a 10-minute pace.
9. WORK WITH THE HEAT
Work with the heat. Go by your effort level rather than your typical pace until you acclimate. If you are new to running, add power walk breaks every 4 to 8 minutes to cool yourself during your runs. It is all about managing your body’s core temperature and not allowing it to rise too much, risking overheating and really slowing down. Like a car, if the temperature rises too high you will overheat.
10. RECOGNIZE THE DANGER ZONE
Heat Cramps: Spasms in the abdomen, arms, calves and hamstrings. Respond by stopping activity for the day, sip a sports drink and gently massage the cramp.
Heat Exhaustion: Heavy sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea. Respond by stopping activity, get inside or in the shade, sip a sports drink and see a doctor if symptoms continue.
Heat Stroke: Confusion, rapid breathing, fainting. Respond by calling for emergency help, get inside or in the shade, cool the skin with a rag.
(Summarized from various articles on www.runnersworld.com and www.active.com)
Summarized from "Core Performance: Endurance" by Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams.
We talk so much about training and miles but we also need to focus on eating properly. There is no way to improve our athletic performance unless we recognize that eating properly is half of the formula. Without proper nutrition, we will not have the fuel we need for each training session, nor will we give our bodies the ability to recover properly.
Most of us fall into 2 categories...we fear food because it will make us gain weight or we exercise for the purpose of eating. Neither of these work well for endurance athletes so below are 5 key nutritional points.
Endurance athletes should be consuming 2-4 grams of carbs per pound of body weight per day. An easy rule is to include a fist-size portion of carbs at most meals.
Carbs are our primary source of food, they provide energy for muscle function and act as the primary fuel for our brain. When we eat the perfect amount, they are stored in our liver and muscle for future energy. But when we eat to little we run out of fuel (energy) and when we eat to many they are converted to sugar and stored as fat. Most importantly we should be avoiding processed carbs such as white bread, pastas and baked goods. Processed carbs provide little nutritional value and are converted quickly to sugar and stored as fat. We should eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, whole-wheat pastas, whole-wheat couscous and brown rice.
Endurance athletes should be consuming .6-.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. A portion of lean meat about the size of a deck of cards has about 35 grams of protein.
Protein builds, maintains and restores muscle. If protein is not consumed with enough carbs to give the body the energy it needs it will be used as energy, which is inefficient and ineffective. It should be included in every meal to help stabilize energy levels and rev up your metabolism.
Low-fat dairy products and lean meat are great sources of protein. It's been said that the less legs something has the better the ratio of protein to healthy fat. For example, fish have no legs and are very healthy.
1 cup of milk has 8 grams, 4 oz. of chicken has 35 grams, 6 oz. of salmon has 40 grams, 1 egg has 6 grams (3 in the white).
** For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, visit www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm#table2
We all need some fat. Good fat provides powerful nutrients for cellular repair of the joints. These good fats can be found in olive oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil and nuts. The rule here is to avoid foods that have the words "hydrogenated" or "fractioned" in the first 4 ingredients.
4. EAT EARLY, OFTEN & BALANCED
Try forgetting 3 square meals each day and try 6 small meals per day. First and foremost, do not skip breakfast as this is your fuel for the rest of the day. We recommend 3 moderate meals and 3 small snacks.
Metabolism is like a fire, which is in constant need of fuel. If you let a fire go to long without adding wood, it would smolder and die out. Metabolism is much the same. Each time you eat, you crank up your metabolism and burn calories to digest the food. If we don't eat often the body will eat its most readily available substance which contrary to popular belief is not fat...it's muscle.
Keep the meals and snacks balanced. Your meals should be full of colorful vegetables, have a fist size portion of unprocessed carbs and a deck of cards size portion of lean meat.
Endurance athletes should be consuming 1/2 - 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
There is no simpler way to maintain and improve your performance than proper hydration. Minor dehydration impairs concentration, coordination, reaction time and reduces stamina. It's said that dehydration of just 3% causes a 10% loss in strength and an 8% loss in speed.
When training over an hour or in very hot conditions it is important to drink something with glucose, sodium and potassium like Gatorade. Salty sweaters (those who end up with a white film after your workout) will need higher concentrations, which can be found in drinks like Gatorade Endurance. These drinks should only be used when training and not as a replacement for water during the day.
SURVIVING THE DISTANCE
We know that most of you signed up to support a cause, not because you love walking or running. So we've gathered a few tips to help you survive the distance over these next several weeks.
1. Break Down The Distance.
When things get tough during your training just focus on completing the mile that you are in. When you get through that one, make it one more. Use landmarks or people when you feel like you just can't go anymore. Tell yourself you can make it to that building 300 yards ahead, then to that tree 200 yards ahead of that, then pass that guy. We always find that thinking about going out and training for a certain amount of time is much easier than thinking of the distance. Thirty minutes seems easier than 3 miles right?
2. Repeat a Mantra or Song... Find something that gets you fired up and repeat it to yourself when things get tough...
“Do or do not; there is no try.” - Brian Sell, 2008 U.S. Olympic marathoner.
"Pure guts race" - Steve Prefontaine.
"Run the mile you are in." - Ryan Hall, 2008 U.S. Olympic marathoner.
"Pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever." - Unknown
3. See Success and Make Things up.
Think about successful times you've had like crossing the finish lines in previous races, winning games or competitions.
Make things up. Vent your frustrations during your workout. Try turning the course into an imaginary vacation spot where you take in all the scenery.
4. Think Hard and Focus on Something (other than walking/running).
Rather than thinking about that slight pain you feel or how tired your legs are, try focusing on your form. Is my face relaxed? Are my shoulders relaxed? Are my fingers so loose that it's like I'm carrying a potato chip in each hand? Moving your focus to something positive will help change your mindset. Some people like to count. Count to 100 three times and before you know it a few more tenths of a mile are gone.
5. Remember a Reward.
Think about that well deserved bowl of ice cream or glass of wine you might have when you finish your training. Book a massage or go to a favorite restaurant as a reward to keep you pushing through each mile.
6. Stay Motivated by all the people watching you.
Try your best not to be that person who can barely take another step walking down the road. Be motivated to look strong for the person in the next car that passes you.
7. Add in Some Speed.
Break up the last miles by doing 1/4 mile or 2 minute pick-ups. It's a great way to loosen your legs and break up the monotony. Unsure of the distance, pick up the pace between telephone poles.
8. Keep it in Perspective.
Think of the tough things you've done in your life and realize that these few miles are nothing.
9. Count Your Blessings.
Given the reason we are walking, running and raising funds, this should be simple. Is walking or running a few more minutes or miles something to complain about? Not at all.
EATING BEFORE & AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
The timing of your meals as they relate to your longer workouts is important. Please note that this is unique for every walker/runner that you meet. We have included what we do merely for informational purposes.
DAY BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT
1. The night before, dinner should be a higher carb meal that is moderate in fiber and low in fat. It should be consumed with plenty of fluids. Pasta, rice, lean protein, cooked vegetables and fruit are all great options*.
2. Overeating the night before will bog you down. Consider a large lunch the day before followed by a typical sized dinner for your appetite.
3. Drink until your urine is clear.
*Example meal: Sauté chicken in olive oil, add water and instant brown rice and then crack a few eggs over top before serving. We add a bit of salt and pepper and it's a great prerace meal.
MORNING OF YOUR WORKOUT
1. Eat a good breakfast. Ideally you want to consume 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. Fiber should be limited but include a little fat and a little protein.
2. If you have digestion issues, wake a bit earlier to get the nutrients in.
Pre Meal #1: 2 slices of toast or 1 small bagel, 1 large banana, 1 tbsp. jelly, 1 tbsp. peanut butter, water. 390 calories, 75 g carbs.
Pre Meal #2: Add 1 cup of fruit yogurt and 4 oz. of 100% fruit juice to Meal #1. 750 calories, 150 g carbs.
Pre Meal #3: 1 cup orange juice, 3/4 c grape nuts, 1 large banana, 1 c fat-free milk, 2 slices of toast with 1 tbsp. peanut butter, 2 tbsp. jelly. 895 calories, 147 g carbs.
** If there is a long duration between breakfast and your workout, you may want to have a snack before your workout. Great options include fruits, bagels, raisins, low-fat yogurt or a high-carb beverage like Gatorade. Avoid high-fiber and high-fat foods as they can cause stomach upset.
DURING YOUR WORKOUT
1. Drink, drink, drink. You need the hydration to cover the distance but you also have to learn how to drink while exercising. At a minimum, several gulps of water are recommended every two miles or every 15 minutes for distances over 6 miles.
2. Drink early in your workout, long before thirst sets in. Think of your body like a sponge. When you dip a dry sponge in a bucket of water and pull it right out, it's not that wet as it needs to soak to absorb the water. You never want your body to need more than a quick dip in a bucket to stay hydrated.
3. You need to find a carbohydrate-electrolyte replenishment option for intense workouts lasting more than 60 minutes. This is something you want to train with as your body must learn how to digest it. It is key that you are replenishing your carbs/electrolytes before you feel the need or "hit the wall". Think of your energy level as a flat line that you want to keep constant over the entire distance. Continually add fuel to keep the line straight across. Once it dips indicating an energy loss, it takes more supplements to get it back. These products can be hard to digest so it's key that you take them with a few sips of water.
Some Hydration Pack Options:
Fuel Belt & Camelbak Water Carrier
Some Replenishment Options:
Sports Jelly Beans: http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/SPB101/
Shot blocks: http://www.rei.com/product/785386/clif-shot-bloks-fastpak
AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
1. Eat within 30 minutes of completing your workout. This is when your body is screaming for nutrients and failure to provide them will impact your recovery.
2. You may not feel like eating or drinking but force yourself to have something even if it’s just a banana and a drink.
3. Remember to refuel, rehydrate and then celebrate.
4. Consider a recovery drink option such as Endurox. http://www.gnc.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2133759
5. Your post workout meal should look much like your pre workout meal such that includes carbs and protein. Pasta, rice, vegetables, fruits and lean meats.
This week is about speed work. Speed work enables you to go faster than your normal training pace. It’s the type of training that allows your body to go from its current fitness level to the next fitness level.
Training at faster paces increases your risk of injury so it is not recommended for first time participants but rather walkers/runners who have plateaued. Speed work should NOT be added to any training program until a solid mileage base is established for a minimum of six weeks. Summarized below are types of speed workouts and training ideas.
TEMPO: A tempo walk/run is one sustained effort between a warm-up and a cool-down. It’s important when doing a tempo walk/run to not stop after your warm-up or the up-tempo portion of the workout, it’s one long workout without a break.
Tempo runs should be done weekly and increase in distance. Your first tempo training should be about 3 miles in distance. Warm-up for 1 mile, increase your pace for 1 mile, cool-down for 1 mile. Each week increase your warm-up and cool-down by 1 minute and your up-tempo part by ½ mile.
You should fully expect your first tempo training to feel like a disaster. You’ll either go out too fast and not be able to finish the distance or not fast enough and never really reach that threshold pace you were shooting for. Keep working at it and keep making your goal a consistent pace during the up-tempo part of your training.
FARTLEK: Another type of speedwork is known as “fartlek”. It’s a funny word and is actually Swedish for “speed play”. Fartleks are done at the same pace as tempo trainings but instead of a consistent pace they are a workout with many short increases in speed followed by many short recoveries. So very simply, you play with your speed during your training. The warm-up and cool-down should look the same as the tempo training such that it’s 1-mile long with a minute added each week. The middle part of the workout is where the play comes in. Below are examples of how to vary the speed using your environment.
When walking/running on the road, use telephone poles for a pole-to-pole workout. Increase your speed from one telephone pole to two ahead, decrease it from that 3rd pole to the 4th. This application makes your recovery time half of your work time.
When using the track, play curves and straights: Hit your up-tempo pace on the straights, recover on the curves.
When using a watch, try 2-1-1-30. Increase your speed to your up-tempo pace for 2 minutes, then recover for 1 minute. Increase your up-tempo pace for 1 minute, then recover for 30 seconds. Each time you do this workout add another set of 2-1-1-30 until you are covering your desired distance.
INTERVALS: The final type of speedwork that is important to consider is intervals. Intervals are faster than tempo and fartlek paces and include walking or very slowing jogging between intervals.
Mile Repeats: If you don’t have access to a track, mark out a 1-mile segment on a road and try to note each ¼ mile. You will use the ¼ mile marks to ensure that you are on pace throughout the mile. For example if you are running an 8-minute mile, you would run a ¼ mile mark every 2 minutes. Your recovery time should be about half the time of your interval so someone running an 8-minute mile would recover for 4 minutes.
5s-5s-5s: This is another fun one on a track. It’s running hard for 5 minutes, recovering for 2.5 minutes and repeating that 3 times. During each 5 minute on segment you should try to run further than you did during the previous interval. Your eventual goal should be to do the 5/5/5 segment twice with a solid 10-minute easy walk/jog in between the sets.
VISUALIZATION FOR SURVIVAL
This training tip comes from “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer” by David Whitsett. It’s an excellent title for a book as the inclusion of non-runner and marathon shows that anyone can be an endurance athlete.
The book talks about visualization and how to use it as a survival method. As distances get longer in your training, your body gets tired and negative thoughts start to creep in. The mental aspect can make or break you.
David Whitsett suggests creating two short mental videos and using your mind as a video player.
The first mental video should be about the best training walk/run you’ve ever had. Where did you go? What did you see? What did you wear? Who was there? What was the weather like? How did you feel? Think of all your answers in detail and then use them to create a mental highlights video.
The second mental video should be about the finish line you will be crossing on September 28th. What will you look like? What will the sea of people look like? Who will be there? What will the weather be like? What will the crowd be saying as they cheer you on? How will you be feeling? Create a mental video highlighting the finish line.
Now on your training walks/runs when those negative thoughts come into your mind, take the negative video out of your mind (actually physically toss it away) and play one of these positive videos. You’ll forget all about focusing on the negative and feel some instant energy.
The more you practice visualization during your training, the more useful it will be should you need it on September 28th.
As you get further into your training, it's not uncommon for little aches and pains to start popping up. You've put so much work in your training that we want you to pay attention to these pains and not just walk/run through them. Failure to follow RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) could sideline you on September 28th. The five most common endurance training injuries are summarized below. Be aware of your body and aware of these injuries. We share the details for identification purposes but recommend you seek proper medical advice.
1. Shin Splints: Inflammation of the muscle attachments and membranes to the tibia (shin bone) on the inside of the front of the lower leg.
- Pain or tenderness along the inside of the shin, usually half way down the shin.
- Pain and tenderness may extend to the knee.
- Pain is most severe at the start of a workout but may disappear as the muscles loosen up.
- If the pain continues during weight bearing activities such as walking or stair climbing, see a medical professional to rule out a stress fracture.
- Inflexible and/or tight calf muscles and achilles tendons place more stress on to the muscle attachments.
- Over pronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact).
- Excessive running on hard surfaces, such as concrete pavements.
- Incorrect or worn shoes.
- Rapid increase in training load or intensity. Beginner runners are more susceptible to this problem for a variety of reasons, but most commonly due to the fact that the leg muscles have not been stressed in such a way before they started running.
2. Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Pain and inflammation on the outside of the knee, where the iliotibial band (a muscle on the outside of the thigh) becomes tendinous, and results in a friction syndrome by rubbing against the femur (thigh bone) as it runs alongside the knee joint.
- Initially, a dull ache 1-2 miles into a run, with pain remaining for the duration of the run.
- The pain disappears soon after stopping running, later, severe sharp pain which prevents running.
- Pain is worse on running downhills, or on hard surfaces.
- Pain may be present when walking up or downstairs.
- Local tenderness and inflammation.
- Anything that causes the leg to bend inwards, stretching the ITB against the femur.
- Over-pronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact).
- Tightness of the ITB muscle from lack of stretching of the ITB.
- Incorrect or worn shoes.
- Excessive hill running (especially downhills) and running on hard surfaces.
3. Achilles Tendonitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon. The Achilles is the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles, gastrocnemius and soleus, to the back of the heel bone. Under too much stress, the tendon tightened and is forced to work too hard. This causes it to become inflamed (that is tendinitis), and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than the tendon. If the inflamed Achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture.
- Dull or sharp pain anywhere along the back of the tendon, but usually close to the heel.
- Limited ankle flexibility.
- Redness or heat over the painful area.
- A nodule (a lumpy build-up of scar tissue) that can be felt on the tendon.
- A cracking sound (scar tissue rubbing against tendon) with ankle movement.
- Tight or fatigued calf muscles, which transfer the burden of running to the Achilles.
- Poor stretching.
- Rapidly increasing distance, over-training, excessive hill running or speed work, all of which stress the Achilles more than other types of running.
- Inflexible running shoes, which, in some cases, may force the Achilles to twist.
- Those who over-pronate (feet rotate too far inward on impact) are most susceptible to Achilles tendinitis.
4. Runner's Knee: A softening or wearing away and cracking of the cartilage under the kneecap, resulting in pain and inflammation. The cartilage becomes like sandpaper because the kneecap is not riding smoothly over the knee.
- Pain beneath or on the sides of the kneecap crepitus (grinding noise), as the rough cartilage rubs against cartilage when the knee is flexed.
- Pain is most severe after hill running.
- Swelling of the knee.
- Over-pronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact) - can cause the kneecap to twist sideways.
- Fatigued or weak quadriceps muscle. The quadriceps muscle assists in the proper tracking of the kneecap. Weakness, especially of the inside part of the quadriceps, can prevent the kneecap from tracking smoothly.
- Muscle imbalance between weak quadriceps and tight hamstring and iliotibial band (ITB).
- Hill running (especially down hills) and running on hard surfaces.
- Incorrect or worn shoes.
5. Plantar Fasciitis: An inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of tissue in the bottom of the foot which runs from the heel to the base of the toes. When placed under too much stress, the plantar fascia stretches too far and tears, resulting in inflammation of the fascia and the surrounding tissues. The tears are soon covered with scar tissue, which is less flexible than the fascia and only aggravates the problem.
- Pain at the base of the heel.
- Pain is most severe in the mornings when getting out of bed and at the beginning of a run.
- The pain may fade as you walk or change running stride, in an attempt to alleviate the pain. (This provides only temporary relief.)
- Stress, tension and pulling on the plantar fascia.
- Inflexible calf muscles and tight Achilles tendons place more stress onto the plantar fascia.
- Over-pronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact).
- High arches and rigid feet.
- Incorrect or worn shoes.
As September 28th approaches, you can mentally start to question your fitness level and loose confidence or be on top of the world because you've come so far and can't wait to rock the course. Either way it's all normal stuff that can be classified under pre-race jitters.
From this point forward each long training should be a dress rehearsal for the 28th.
- Shoes: You should be walking/running in the shoes you intend to wear on race day. Even start noticing which socks are most comfortable for you.
- Clothes: If you have a team shirt to wear on September 28, give it a test run. Be sure to find the shorts that fit best -- ones that don't chafe or rub.
- Routine: How early do you need to get up to be awake on the starting line? Do you shower? Do you drink coffee? This is the time to confirm what works for you and know that it's different for everyone.
- Food: Pay attention to what you are eating the night before and the morning of your long run/walk. Stay consistent with what works. Undoubtedly someone always makes the mistake of changing their diet on race day as they think they'll need more energy.
- Nourishment: Practice drinking while training so you know how many sips you can stomach without a cramp, practice stomaching gu's or electrolyte chews if you plan on using them on race day.
RACE DAY STRATEGY
The more you walk and run, the more you'll understand that there are good days and bad days. Enjoy the days when you go out and it feels effortless and don't beat yourself up about those trainings where you felt like you couldn't take another step. Allow yourself to walk and regroup when you hit rock bottom. There are so many elements that go into feeling great – weather, proper hydration, rest, health and diet. All you can do is keep practicing and hope the stars align for one of those effortless days on September 28th.
This week's tips are about race day strategy. Pace is so very important!!! It's very common to get caught up in the adrenalin of the start. You will feel great, be moving faster than you ever have and for some reason this quick pace will feel as easy as a walk in the park. For many of us the idea of "banking minutes" occurs or we start to calculate finish times that we didn't think were possible. This all works great until late in the race when suddenly we are out of steam and all those people we passed in the first mile start passing us.
Pace options are:
1. Take the first half of the race easy and pick up the pace for the second half. The problem with this attempt is that you have to increase your speed significantly to make up for the first half of the race. This faster speed is normally not your most efficient speed. It's often said that if you negative split the marathon (second half faster than the first) you could have had a faster finish time.
2. Take the first half fast and try to cruise to 2nd half. The risk here is that you will use more glycogen than necessary from the start and you will start to accumulate lactate acid.
3. Do an even pace the entire course. According to Advanced Marathoning this is the best way to tackle a distance. Obviously with course variation (hills, turns) even splits won't be possible but you should try to maintain a constant pace.
So what should your race day plan look like....
First 1/3 of race (1 mile for 5K'ers / 2 miles for 10K'ers): Keep things in check - not too fast!! Establish your relaxed shoulders, face and hands here. Always remember my fingers are so loose it's like I'm carrying a potato chip.
Second 1/3 of race (2nd mile for 5K'ers / mile 3 & 4 for 10K'ers): Evaluate your pace as you come by those first clocks. The shock of moving is over for your body and now it's time to settle.
Final 1/3 of race (3rd mile for 5K'ers / mile 5 & 6 for the 10K'ers: These miles tend to feel longer than the earlier miles. Push on, dig deep and put it all on the line here. Pass the time with small goals like passing those in front of you.
The Finish Line: Keep the emotions in check for just a few more minutes once it's in view.... kick it in (UP THAT HILL) and show yourself and all the cheering people that you have mastered this distance and you have made a difference in the lives of those receiving care at the Steeplechase Cancer Center. Visualize this moment as much as you can now.
BE SMART & BE CONFIDENT
There isn't much to do the week before the race other than to be simple and smart. Don't try anything new - not a new activity, not a new food. It's very easy to not try a new workout and avoid excessive weigh lifting but beware of activities that could blindside you and impact your performance. For example, raking leaves is a common practice in September. Don’t do it the day before the race. Take it easy and just store up all that energy for Sunday morning.
Be sure to eat well, stay hydrated and do your best to get several solid nights of sleep. Anticipate a restless sleep the night before the race but don’t worry about it. It's very normal and will not impact your performance as long as you rested during the week.
Review your training log if you’ve kept one. Don't fret over missed workouts and count on some serious adrenaline to carry you through the course on Sunday.