Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dealing With Pre-Race Nerves

5 weeks to go!  I received a great question this week about how to deal with nerves for a first time (or 100th time) half marathoner.  First of all, a few nerves are a great thing!  It means that we care about the upcoming event.  Nerves drive us to do the work and get in the training time.  Feeling the butterflies is not at all a bad thing, however we don’t want them to take over our thoughts.  Embrace the nerves, acknowledge what they mean, and move on to the next thought.  There are many ways of dealing with nerves/jitters/butterflies but I thought I’d share a few that I have found helpful.

Visualize Your Success

We have been training our bodies to run further and further each week since early January.  We are getting stronger and starting to say things like “I am ONLY running 5 miles this weekend” when we couldn’t fathom 5 miles in December.  What we practice we become.  That is true for the mind as well.  We have 4 long runs remaining.  During the last couple miles of your weekly runs and definitely at the end of your long runs, visualize the end of your race.  Think of how you will feel: the tired but still moving legs, the smells coming from the Commons, the fans cheering you home, and the way it will feel to give David a high five right before you cross that finish line.  Will you be overcome with emotion and get teary?  Will you scream with delight as you near that finish line?  Will you quietly celebrate as you step across the line?  Let yourself go through those emotions now.  Allow them to swell over you as you run.  It sounds crazy but your body and your mind will actually remember that you have been in this place before and come race day, you will breeze right through those feelings and keep moving forward.

Plan Your Day

Failing to plan is planning to fail.  This may be a worn out cliche but it is really true for big events like Cap City.  We have planned an amazing day for you.  All the details are worked out throughout the year.  David’s team does a fantastic job taking care of the logistics.  However, we need you to plan your day as well.  Really start your plan for the expo and all the way through to the celebration.  When will you pick up your packet?  Give yourself enough time to park and enjoy the vendors at the expo.  For race day, take a look at the parking options in the Event Guide.  Figure out where you will park before you leave your house.  Get there early enough so that you can park, get settled, use the porta john, and get into your corral.  Try to be there 90 minutes before the race start.  It seems like a long time, but honestly you will be much less stressed if you aren’t rushing around before the race.  Bring a change of clothes, have at least a dry shirt, socks, and bottoms so you will be comfortable after the race at the celebration.

Practice Race

One of the best ways to calm race nerves is to run in a shorter event BEFORE your goal race.  You do NOT want to race as fast as you can in the earlier event.  Simply run it as a training run, at your normal training pace.  Use it to go through everything you will do on May 3.  Wear the same outfit and shoes as you will for Cap City.  Bring the nutrition that you plan on using for Cap City (and actually eat it during the race).  Practice how you will go through aid stations.  You can slow to a walk and get in the Gatorade without losing too much time.  If you decide to run through an aid station, practice drinking on the run.  Seriously, it is an art form (think point at volunteer, yell out “Gatorade,” make eye contact, grab cup, squish cup into a slit, then drink from the slit, toss cup at/near trash can).  You’ll want to try this before the big day, because getting Gatorade up your nose is something you’d rather do during a short race believe me!  The Scioto Miles training series is set up specifically as a training series for Cap City.  This coming Sunday is the second race this Spring.  There is a 5k, 10k, 15k.  You pick the distance and practice!

Get There Early and Take it All In

It bears repeating.  Get to Cap City EARLY.  Be there in time to park, use the porta john, get into the corral, and enjoy the scenery.  Cap City is a big race, but we work hard to give everyone a personalized feel.  Each wave gets their own start.  Someone posted this on Facebook  “And don’t forget to enjoy the atmosphere and the event itself before during and after.”  Couldn’t say it any better.  You’ve done the work, trust in that, and just enjoy every bit of the race experience.

I cannot wait to welcome you to the finish line on May 3!

Happy Training.


Tight body? Try yoga. It does a body good.

Why Yoga For Runners?

Hip flexors, Hamstrings and Lower Back.

Runners are known for their endurance, strength and agility, and so it surprises many to hear that runners tend to become less flexible as their mileage adds up. This can be due to the nature of the force placed on the muscles- strong, repetitous concentric contractions that shorten and tighten the muscles over time.

Two of the muscles that have a driving force in running are the hip flexors and hamstrings, and so naturally, runners tend to get uber-tight in these areas. And when hip flexors get tight, the pull the lower back, which also becomes strained. When you are tight and less flexibly, mobility is limited and your body can be injury-prone.

My answer? Well, there are many ways to help improve flexibility and create a more functional body. But, one way is through yoga. There are many type of yoga, and so some forms can be better than others at focusing on hip flexor and hamstring stretching. I’ve put together a few simple postures and sequences that you may enjoy trying as part of your regular routine. I’d recommend doing these several times a week, and stretching before and after every run.

Long Runs are Dress (and nutrition) Rehearsals

Wow we are 7 weeks from race week!  That means we only have a few more long runs left in our training schedules.  Our workouts are all important to our fitness, but its the long ones where we really start to understand our progress.  Throughout the season, we go from thinking that 13.1 is REALLY far, to wow that’s only 1 more mile than last week!  The long runs prepare our bodies and minds for race day.  But they can be so much more than that too.  Start thinking about your long runs over the next 6 weeks or so as dress rehearsals.  They are the events where we can practice what we will put in, on, and around our bodies on race day.  Then the endurance athlete’s mantra will become your own “nothing new on race day!”

What to Wear

Figure out now what works and what doesn’t as far as gear goes.  I realize that a Saturday in March might call for tights, a hat, and long sleeves while in May you might choose shorts and a singlet.  However, try to find a couple long runs to wear what you will on race day, from head to toe.  Now is the time to find out that your cute polka dot singlet chafes your arms, NOT at mile 10 on race day.  You still have time to sort it out or find a different outfit!  Most importantly, figure out your shoes and socks soon.  My last post on running shoes and socks discusses how to find your race shoes.  The most important thing is to try them out on a long run and make sure they work for you.

What to Eat and Drink

Even more than what you wear on race day, what you choose to put into your body is best determined beforehand.  This takes some trial and error for people, so start now.  We need to be fueling our bodies throughout the week with high quality nutrition.  We need carbohydrates to move (to live really but we’re talking about running here).  We’ve all heard about the pre-race pasta parties, but you don’t want to do that for the first time the night before Cap City.  Use your long runs to mimic everything you are going to eat and drink starting the day before.  Work out what your night before dinner will be, your breakfast, what you carry with you, etc.  If you haven’t yet tried consuming Gatorade or a gel like Gu, now is the time to start.  It might take a few attempts to figure out what works for you.  If you need more information on WHAT to eat and when for long runs, check on my blog from last year on Eating on the Run.

Have a great week, enjoy the sunshine.  Happy Training!

Who Helps You To Be Your Best?

As the Cap City Healthy Lifestyle and Team Coach, I am passionate about the power of ‘we’.  ‘We’, means, we get through this together.  We are stronger together.  We cross that finish line, together.  Studies tell us that we are much more likely to accomplish a goal when we have accountability partners and we have people who help make the journey fun.

And, training for a healthy event like the Cap City, should be fun!  It should be something that makes you feel good about you.  When we have days that we don’t feel like getting out there and training, we have others in our court, that remind us why we care, why it matters and that we are worth taking the time to take care of ourselves.  That’s why teams are so important!  We are better when we are together!

So whether you have a formal team in place, or just someone who you phone is in your corner, cheering you on and supporting you as you make this journey to the finish line in May – we want to hear about it!  Tell us by posting to our Facebook page, include the hashtag: #capcitygratitude.   Example:  My friend Joe always pushes me to go the extra mile, even when I want to quit! #capcitygratitude.

Give a shout out to someone who helps you, pushes you, inspires you, and encourages you.  Those are the people who help us to make a goal fun and remind us why we care.  Give them a little love today!  It always feels good to hear a positive compliment – so put some positive energy out there today! It will come right back to you!