Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Race-Day Prep Tips!!

Over the last few months, I have spent countless hours on the treadmill at the gym and outside pounding the pavement in preparation for my participation in the 2012 Temecula Half Marathon!  Well... the time is finally here.  On Sunday morning I will be lacing up my running shoes once again for a beautiful and scenic 13.1 mile run through the wine country of Temecula, Ca.

I know I'm physically ready to take on the challenge... I have been following a 12-week half marathon training program by Hal Higdon (www.halhigdon.com).  The program is free and online, and there are different programs from beginner to intermediate, from half marathon to marathon.  Regardless of your fitness level when you start, a training program is a great informational and instructional tool to have... and it'll keep you in check!  In my initial search for a program, I found there to be many other training programs online... some are free, but some you have to pay for.  If you are looking for more personalized support and coaching, another way to train for a half marathon or other run is to join a local running club or find a marathon training group in your neighborhood!**

** You can find information on local running clubs and other programs at Active.com (www.active.com). On top of being a good source for all your active, health and fitness information and advice, Active.com is the best source to find local events, races, and things to do in your city!  I use this site to search and sign up for all my runs and events.

Thanks to all my training, I am confident that I physically ready to run a half marathon!  But to make sure I am mentally prepared for the 13.1 mile challenge, I decided to get some last minute preparation advice from the experts.

10 Race-Day Preparation Tips
By Thad McLaurin • For Active.com
Read entire article here

1. Enjoy the Taper
The last few days before a race, running should decrease (taper) to allow the body to recuperate, rebuild, and be fresh on race day.  Don't replace the run downtime with more cross-training as you might cause your fitness level to dip, and in turn lessen your race-day potential.  Rest your body... and enjoy it!

2. Fuel Up
During the last three days before a race, carbohydrate intake should increase!  Start with complex carbs (whole grains) for the first day then simple carbs (regular pasta, pretzels, white bread) for the last two days.  Eat your last last big meal of simple carbs (pasta, easily digestible food) 12 to 15 hours before the race.  YUM... CARB-LOADING.

3. Hydrate
Don't over-hydrate the day before the race, drink water when you are thirsty.  Make sure to drink 16 oz. of water two hours before race time.

4. Enjoy the Expo... but resist the urge
Don't buy things (shoes, socks, etc.) at the expo and use them the day of the race.  DUH.  Also, avoid trying samples of sports drinks, energy foods and supplements you've never tried before.

5. Sleep
Try to get a good night's sleep so you are well-rested for the race.  Go to bed early if you need to!  Sleep is good.

6. Dress for Success
Don't overdress.  If you need to keep warm before the race, you can wear an old sweatshirt or sweatpants that you can toss at the start line (you could get some beforehand at the Goodwill too).  Many races donate discarded clothing.

7. Warm Up
Keep it minimal.  Stretch, brisk walk, and/or easy jog for a few minutes... don't tire yourself out before the race!

8. Cool Your Jets
Ignore the speedsters running around and past you!  Focus on starting at your own pace. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race!

9. Have a Mantra
Having a motivational mantra can help you fight off fatigue, get over a tough hill, or pull you through a hard stretch.  My mantra is... 'new running shoes when I'm done!'

10. Trust and Believe
Trust in your training and believe in yourself as an athlete.  You are stronger than you think!  #mindovermatter


With that being said... I'm officially pumped up, ready to go, and am determined to cross that finish line strong!  Being mentally and physically prepared for race day is important... especially if you want to finish injury-free, with a SMILE on your face :)

Oh and did I mention the half marathon is in wine country!?!  Celebratory wine tasting afterwards?  I think, yes.

Let's do this.

Xo,
Janel

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