Tuesday, May 5, 2009

10 Things Not to Do Before a Big Race

Before a big race don't...

1. over hydrate (drink plenty of fluids, but not to excess).

2. fill your last taper week with cross-training or strength training or trying to get in those missed runs (your body needs this time to repair so you'll be refreshed for the race).

3. eat pasta with a heavy cream sauce the night before the race (waking up with indigestion is never a good thing). Actually, you don't even need to eat pasta. Eat what you've been eating the night before your long runs. Yes, it's great for your pre-race dinner to be simple-carb rich, but that can take many forms. You know your own stomach. Don't try something you've never eaten the night before a long run.

4. go to bed too early (try to get 8 hrs, but going to bed too early may cause you wake up too early; then you may have a hard time falling back asleep). But also, don't fret if you can't sleep. If you normally get a good amount of sleep nightly on a regular basis, not sleeping the night before the race will not effect you negatively.

5. read back copies of your running magazines and discover all the things you should have been doing (avoid things that may cause you to question your training). Trust. Believe. Conquer!

6. listen to everyone's advice about how to run your race (you've put in the training; you know what needs to be done).

7. make last minute changes to race strategy plans (trust your training). Many races are lost in the first mile when runners get caught up in the race-start hoopla and bolt out too fast. Most PRs are made when races are run as a negative split meaning a runner starts out conservative and ends up running the second half a little fast than the first.

8. forget to layout your racing attire before going to bed, so you won't be panicked in the morning trying to find your clothes and gear (being prepared before going to bed will help your mind relax so you can sleep better). Lay out everything...shoes, shorts/tights, shirt/singlet, socks, race bib, hydration belt or handheld bottle (if carrying or wearing one), Gu, etc. If you plan to pack a drop-off bag to have at the end of the race, go ahead and pack that too. Let race morning be focused on fueling and dressing, not trying to find everything.

9. pick up a different brand of gel at the expo to use during the race, just because it was a great bargain or free (all gels are not created equal; never try something on race day that you've not tested in your training).

10. buy new shoes and/or apparel at the expo and decide to wear them in the race (blisters and chafing—that's what you risk by wearing new shoes and/or apparel; not a good thing on race day).


Jessica Lane said...

Hey Runner Dude!

My name is Jessica and I am a runner from Arkansas. I stumbled upon your blog today and will check in on you from time to time. I am planning on running my first marathon in the near future and I need all the advice and support I can get! This is new territory to me. Even though I work at a Fleet Feet Sports and know a great deal about running, I still feel like there is so much to learn. Hope all is well.


RunnerDude said...

Hey Jessica! Welcome to the blog! There are several past marathon-related posting in the archives on training, hydration, fuel, etc. Which marathon are you planning to run?

joyRuN said...

Very true - excellent list! I'd heard that hydration is best done the entire week before - waiting until the day before/morning of is a little too late.

Although I avoided the heavy cream sauce the night before my last race, I did go a little nuts with a martini/steak/chocolate fondue combo. I'm LUCKY I got away with it :)

RunnerDude said...

Hey JoyRuN!Yep, I had a friend that eats this huge pasta dish with whole sausages before a big race. I'd rather play safe than sorry. Works for him, though. He's qualified for Boston! LOL!

Jules said...

love the pic with the comments in the bubbles above! HA Hilarious!

Was hoping tor un into you at the NC Marathon.

RunnerDude said...

Hey Jules! I was helping my running group (The BlueLiners) all day at our waterstop. Ours was at mile 2.5 then the half marathons came back by us around mile 9 and then the full marathoners saw us againg at mile 23. Was a long day but lots of fun!

M2Marathon said...

Great list and I love the pic with imagined commentary! :-)

RunnerDude said...

Thanks M2Marathon!