Wow, we are less than 5 weeks from race day 2017. That means we have two long runs left in training before the taper. All your training to this point has you ready to complete these last long tests and will propel you to the finish line on April 29. One of the great things about knowing you have the fitness to complete the mileage is that you can focus on the rest of your race preparations during these final weeks. Practicing everything from your meal the night before, morning routine, race day outfit, shoes, and your in-race nutrition will give you time to adjust anything that doesn’t quite work. The old mantra “nothing new on race day” seems played out, but it’s used so frequently for a reason. Many a race has gone south because runners have decided to try new shoes or the newest gel pack and had it backfire at mile 9. Honestly, the very best thing you can do for yourself now is to go through everything as you would on race week/day as a trial run.
The easiest way to derail a race is to have last night’s dinner catch up with you on course. Avoiding it however is simple, try it now! Pasta dinners are the go to, but may not be right for you. Some may have iron stomachs and can handle non-traditional meals that are spicy or greasy, but most cannot. Generally, you want easily digestible carbs and lean protein the night before a long run or race. My biggest meal is lunch the day before a race, rather than dinner. Dinner for me is just to top off my stores and avoid hunger overnight. Then I focus on getting breakfast in 2-3 hours before the gun goes off, again something with easily digestible and accessible carbs.
In addition to your pre-race meals, you want to start consuming some nutrition during your workouts. If you are going to be running or walking for more than 60 minutes, you’ll need some simple carbohydrates like sports drink or gels on the course. There is a wide spectrum of options however, from all liquid to “real food” like dates or bananas. Gels, chews, chomps, waffles etc. are all good choices but are very different both in how you intake them and how your body may handle them. I know several people who cannot STAND the consistency of gels but will happily chew on a waffle mid-run. Use this weekend’s long run to test one of the options and adjust as necessary. Lots more on eating on the run here.
Gear – clothing, shoes, socks, watches
The post race shower doesn’t lie. No matter how much you might adore that cute purple running skirt and black singlet, if it chafes you the shower will tell all! Better to find out now that something bothers you. You can always add extra Body Glide or go back to your favorite old outfit! This is even more important with your footwear. Obviously, you want your race shoes to have as much life left on them as possible but that does not mean taking them out of the box and immediately racing. Ideally, race shoes should have about 40 miles on them. You want to get a couple shorter workouts in, a long run, and a quality run (speedwork) if you do those. That combination gives you a true feel for the shoes in many situations but still leaves them with plenty of nice cushioning to treat your feet on race day.
Lastly, learn how to use your watch now. Practice, practice, practice with it until you can do it almost without looking. Also, make sure you know where your charger is and do any updates required. If I had a dollar for all the times I hear about a watch causing race day stress, I’d be running in Hawaii by now. Please please learn your watch and take care of it if it is important to you in a race.
Enjoy and Relax
The last month of training is so amazing because you are fit and ready. You are just refining your training to take full advantage of that fitness. Take time to enjoy this month. Look around and take it all in. This journey is yours and every single one is special. It doesn’t matter if this is your first race ever or your 100th; every race season is unique and incredible. The last week will likely be a blur of activity, so enjoy these last several weeks of training! The weather even seems to be cooperating for us too. See you all on April 29th! – Happy Training!
There’s a lot of talk about the USA Half Marathon Championships this year and next here at our race, Cap City! It’s amazing and such an honor for our race and our city. I cannot wait for all of you to share the same course and finish line with the best half marathoners in our country! But Cap City is about YOU. It has always been and will always be YOUR race. We run 3.1, 6.55, or 13.1 miles with many goals and reasons. The connection is the love for the sport and the celebration of fitness. The celebration this year happens to include some really fast runners!
Which distance and training plan is right for me?
What about our training? We have 3 distances, each with two training schedule options. The half and quarter intermediate schedules have a quality component that starts next week, but the beginner schedules do not. Why? Cap City, indeed all M3S events, are open to everyone who wants to celebrate fitness and get a little swag along the way. Your goal may be to run your fastest half ever or it could be a long term goal of walking a 5k. We celebrate everyone! The reason for the two levels of schedules is to give options based on your current fitness level and goals. At the bottom of each schedule we have a suggested minimum level of fitness for that particular plan. We want everyone to get the most out of their training and having the proper background training helps ensure a healthy, fun, and successful season. Running and walking should be lifetime endeavors and there is no need to rush. If you aren’t at a particular level of fitness yet you will be soon! Take a look at the bottom of your plan and make sure you fit that description, if not consider choosing a different plan. If you have questions email me!
The schedules that call for quality workouts will begin those next week, in week 6 of the training. The goal of the quality or speed workouts is to introduce our bodies to faster running. Once our bodies are used to the mileage, after several seasons of training, we get faster by varying both the pace and distance of our workouts. It is important when introducing speed workouts to make sure that the other workouts are done slowly enough to give us time to recover. Trying to race every single workout is a recipe for injury. Follow the guidelines in the schedules and when it is time to run fast, do so! When it is time to run easy, do that too. Also, really tune into your body at this time. If you need extra rest make sure to get it.
Enjoy the training. We made it through January which in my opinion is the toughest month to train! So we’re already through the hard part. Keep going and we will see you at the finish line. Happy Training!
Questions? Email me at Coachaimee@m3ssports.com