Prep for the Big Day
Can you believe we are almost here? A little over a week to go! The Cap City Staff is excited to see each and every one of you cross the finish line on Saturday, May 4th!
Many of you have been writing to me to ask what last week preparations should include. I have an unofficial list of things that I recommend you consider as you are getting ready for the big day. Please keep in mind that every BODY is different and you will need to modify or select the appropriate preparations according to your medical history, needs, preferences and goals.
1.) Sleep! Your muscles (and brain) love sleep time because it is the only true time they are in an absolute healing mode. We need to make sure we get plenty of sleep the week of the race, not only for your energy levels throughout the race, but to provide your muscles the opportunity to be at their best on game day. Proper sleep times vary person-by-person but it tends to trends between 6-9 hours a night. The night of the race, expect that you may be restless with excitement! So make sure you surround yourself with quiet, dark, cool environment.
2.) Water! Drink water throughout the day, every day. Hydrating well is something we should do all of the time, but especially true as we are preparing for a big energy day. You need to drink throughout the day, don’t try to ‘down it’ all at once – that can be dangerous and isn’t effective at hydration. Your body can only absorb so much water at a time. The American College of Sports Medicine has a nice write-up that I will point you to for more specific hydration recommendations: http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/selecting-and-effectively-using-hydration-for-fitness.pdf
3.) Nutrition! There are a lot of different theories, studies and traditions about what to eat and when as you prepare for the big day. In general, consider the week up to your big day as a time to fuel your body – consider it prep time. Everything matters. As the week of your event begins, ensure you are taking in some extra calories each day. Make sure you are getting a good mix of carbs and proteins. As your meals increase, your protein levels should also. Carbs help fuel the muscles; the protein helps them to rebuild. Both are essential for performance and endurance. As far as the night before, the “Journal of American Dietetics Association” (2009) says that foods consumed before exercise should be low in fat and protein; and high in carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and maintain blood glucose. In addition, avoid high-fiber products to prevent gastrointestinal distress. A tradition is to have a pasta meal on Friday night.
4.) Exercise. You will not improve your race time or endurance by training heavy the week of your race. In fact, you should have tapered off to just gentle runs or walks, a few miles, every two-three days, to keep the circulation strong, stretch the muscles and stimulate your systems. We do not want to break down muscle this week – we want it to build, heal and be healthy. The day before the race should be a complete rest day.
While these tips are general and need to be adapted to your specific needs, interests, and goals, they should provide you a few guiding points behind getting ready for your awesome big day! Here’s to celebrating your health, here’s to your incredible journey, and here’s to crossing that finish line!