Feeling a little more in-control this week, may help with the race anxiety. We all know that we need to get rest, hydrate, and eat right. What we may not realize is that we are CREATURES OF HABIT! We need to continue in our same routines. Any abrupt change in our routine may have detrimental effects on our performance.
Here are some common mistakes runners make:
Taper: (verb) to diminish or reduce/ to reduce in thickness toward one end.
In our sport, it means to reduce the amount of running in the couple days leading to a big race. I listed this one first because it's the one that everyone has been talking about. "How much are you running this week?". This week shouldn't be too different than past weeks! One of the biggest mistakes runners make before a big race is TAPERING TOO MUCH. Yes, you can ease-off the intensity and mileage A LITTLE, but you don't want to shut down. You need to keep your finely tuned machine well OILED and ready to roll when the gun goes off on Sunday. If you taper too much, your body may start going on Vacation Mode.
Friday and Saturday, The Miami Beach Convention Center will become Disney for runners! It will house hundreds of the latest running wear options, thousands of nutrition products, and have millions of tempting options to derail you from what YOU ARE USED TO! Don't go EXPOCRAZY. Just because Mo Farah runs in a certain Nike racing flat, doesn't mean that you need to as well. There will also be lots of informative talks at the Expo. They are there to provide information, but keep in mind, they are opinions or points of view of certain runners. NOT EVERY TIP needs to be IMPLEMENTED on race day!
All of us know that we need to load up on carbs before our half and full marathons because they are a great source of energy, but HOW and WHEN to LOAD could mean the difference between "hitting the wall" or "charging towards the port-a-potty". In order to keep our body fully stocked for race day, we need to start carbo-loading 2-3 days before. By Thursday, our diet should consist of 85-95% carbs. CAUTION:This doesn't mean that your diet should consist of 85-95% pasta. There are other great sources of carbs found in sports drinks, snacks (cereals, oatmeal, granola), fruits (though they also have high fiber) and starchy vegetables. Also, keep in mind that eating after our easy taper runs is the best time to replenish our glycogen stores.
Most importantly, the biggest mistake runners make is going for a late pasta dinner with friends and fellow runners the NIGHT BEFORE. You want to EAT early on Saturday so that you have enough time to digest your food. If you wake up hungry on Sunday morning, YOU DID WELL! You definitely don't want to wake up still stuffed from Saturday night's dinner. Race morning breakfast should include 100-150 grams of carbs. Tortillas, oatmeal, bread, pancakes, waffles, bagels, yogurt, and juice are all easy-to-digest options. It's recommended that you eat this meal around 2-3 hours before the race start. It sounds like a long time but if you eat AS SOON as you get up, you'll be within the correct window.
Last but definitely not least. In the craziness of Race Week, planning meals, filling water bottles, icing legs, and massaging calves, it may slip our mind to give ourselves a PEDICURE. You may laugh, but you will thank me for the reminder on mile 11 when you look down at your foot and DON'T SEE BLOOD! Fact: RUNNERS loose nails. Having your toe nails nicely trimmed will minimize your chances of walking away from Bay Front Park with purple toe that will eventually turn black, and slowly slide off in the following 2 months making it difficult for you to wear sandals or heels if you remotely care about what people think of your feet. I did say- GIVE YOURSELF a pedicure. Call me paranoid, but I strongly encourage you to do it yourself because if you go to a salon, you may happen to get the nail lady on a bad day when she is out to save the world one cuticle at a time. You definitely don't want that! Safest bet, do it yourself and book a real "pamper-your-feet" Pedicure with your friends for anytime after Sunday Morning.
Hope these tips help....5 days to Go!