I am 5 days out from my 4th half marathon, and 7th race of the year – Women’s Running Series Scottsdale. I’m excited (especially because I get to be an honorary Cookie for the weekend) and completely amazed, but am now faced with remembering all the important things I’ve shared with everyone else of how to prepare for race day during that final week.
As a reminder, I’m not a personal trainer, doctor, nurse, dietician, or really anyone with any kind of training that could be scientifically useful. I am simply a woman who’s run 7 half marathons, and found some things that work really well for me. Take my advice with a grain of salt, literally, salt is a good start for prepping this week.
Some of these tips & pics first appeared on Instagram, where I share tips, recipes, and my random life. Go follow me!
Tip #1 Know where you’re going
Image from fin6.com
I mean this both literally, make sure you know where you need to be, etc., but also, if you’re traveling to a race, like I am this weekend, make sure you know where the start line is, what the weather will be like, and what the course looks like and where water stops are along the route (unless you’re planning to carry your own hydration). Plan for a couple of weather circumstances, just in case, especially if you’re racing in between seasons, when the weather could be one extreme or the other.
Tip #2 Hydrate
Hydration can come in many forms. Drinking water, electrolyte drinks, or juices (just watch your sugar intake) are all good ways to take liquids in, but most fruits and veggies are also a fantastic way to add water to your body. Grapes are a favorite of mine, because they also give you a good crunchy & sweet snack.
Tip #3 Be extra kind to your body
Your feet, legs, and back need some extra TLC the week leading up to a race. Foam roll, use tennis or golf balls (or Rubz, my favorite) on your feet, ice or Epsom soaks to reduce any remaining inflammation, and wearing extra support in your work shoes (or just wearing a good pair of non-running sneakers if you can) can help give your body a little extra love.
Tip #4 Fuel your body right
After training and eating well for months, the last thing you want me to tell you is that giving up your healthy foods is a bad idea. Your body has been training, so if you’ve eaten healthy leading up to long runs, or shorter prep races, it can handle healthy foods. If there are items that trouble you, cut them out (dairy, wheat and really high fiber foods are often culprits), but don’t start eating junk. Junk in, junk out. I’m a fan of lots of smoothies during taper week, because you can get lots of fruits & veggies, while maintaining a healthy balance of carbs, fats, and protein.
Tip #5 Sleep. It does the body good
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do during race week. Often the night before the race is filled with anxiety, and sleep might be minimal, but if you’re well rested leading up to it, losing a few hours race eve won’t kill you.
Tip #6 Don’t go nuts on pasta the night before
Image from catsparella.com
Carbs are good. The biggest pasta dinner of your life at 9 PM the night before a 7 am race is bad. Well unless you like vomiting, or feeling like you ate a lead brick. Be smart. Up your carb intake starting a few days out, and eat early-ish the night before a race.
Tip #7 Test your race plan
Even if its just a few miles, test your race gear. Don’t wear something for the first time for a race. Have a tested fuel plan, including water or Gatorade (or whatever will be on the course) for your race. If you didn’t train with Gatorade, I highly suggest not using it during the race. The high sugar content has been known to cause GI issues, instead stick to water and gels, blocks, beans, bars, or whatever works for you.
Tip #8 Know your running persona
I’m a music runner unless I’m running with Karen, the we talk a lot when we run. I need up tempo music, and it should make me want to sing or dance. Some people just like their favorite tunes, whether slow or fast, podcasts, or audio books, others prefer to just enjoy the race around them. But know what you like, and plan for it. Make a new playlist, or download a new mix (I’m currently loving RockMyRun and the different mixes to power me through), and make sure your phone is charged!
So there you have it. My 8 tips (in honor of this being my 8th half marathon) for getting prepared during race week.
What’s a tip you would give to fellow runners?
Are you racing this weekend? What, where, when?
What’s your running persona?