Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tips on Race Prep

Spring time is race time! Runners everywhere are emerging from hibernation. The time has come to test the effectiveness of all those lonely hours outside braving the elements or slaving away on the treadmill.

Both the Newbie and Sister2 are racing this weekend, and I am SO PUMPED!!!

If you’re racing this weekend, it’s time to start thinking about it now. Despite the nausea/jitters/sleepless anxiety, there’s something I love about race-prep. Sure it’s nerve-wracking, but it’s also exciting! Pre-race is the only time it’s totally acceptable to be selfish. (I say that with a bit of reservation…but take it as you will.) Before your big day, you need to do whatever you need to do. Your friends and family should understand that it’s more than just another run – a race is the culmination of all your hard work – thus, things are going to get a little self-centered.

So if your friends try to guilt you into going out, just say no. If your bf wants to order Chinese takeout for dinner, do what you want, but I suggest you insist on something a little less greasy. And if you’re tempted to run hard within 4 days of your race – tell your legs to chill out – all that energy will serve you well when the gun goes off!

Tips on Race Prep:

-       Your most important day to rest is two days before your competition. So if you’re racing on Saturday, think Thursday. Take the day off.

-       Get a good night of sleep Thursday night. The night before the race, you may have trouble sleeping because of nerves, so make sure you’ve given yourself enough rest beforehand.

-       Think about what you’re eating. There’s no need to super-carbo-load or anything crazy like that. But do be conscious of what you’re consuming. Cake for lunch the day before you race will not kill you…but it probably won’t help (me? Encouraging you not to eat cake? I know, craziness.)

-       Give yourself plenty of time to get to the race. I’ve had some bad experiences with pre-race transportation…and that’s the last think you want to be stressing about!

-       Know the course beforehand. Or at least look at a map…maybe an elevation profile if one is available. It’s never nice to be surprised by Mt. Kilimanjaro mid-marathon. (Here's the map for the National Marathon.)

-       Eat and drink whatever you normally eat before/during your long run. Race day is no time to test out the newest gel/shot bloc/energy bean. (Toast with peanut butter and a cup of coffee is my stand-by. It just tastes like pre-race!)

-       Wear something comfortable. Or a neon unitard…whatever works for you.

-       Plan a post-race meeting place. Finish areas can get crazy, so I recommend meeting somewhere at least a few blocks away.

If your racing this weekend involves more spectating than running (as mine does), check out my tips for spectators.

Spring is for running, and running is for racing. So good luck and have fun!