Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Running Advice Installment 9

Howdy team,

The race is almost upon us. You've all done some good training and I believe you're well prepared. Just a few last minute bits of advice.

At the race expo, there will be booths of people selling running equipment, nutrition items, and miscellaneous other things. Feel free to browse and check things out but under no circumstances are you to purchase anything and use it for the first time in the race. This can be a big time mistake which you can potentially pay dearly for. We want to stay to tried and true running shoes, socks, shorts, shirts.

The same goes for pre-race breakfast. If you ordinarily eat a bagel and bannana for breakfast, do the same for the race. We don't want to be trying new foods and risk an upset stomach. Eat at least an hour before the race to allow time for the food to digest. The idea is to give yourself some energy but not so much that things are sloshing around while you're running. Try to stay hydrated the next few days and eat meals that are relatively high in carbohydrates such as pasta, fruits, and vegtables. Don't forget to incorporate basic proteins such as chicken and fish. Your body will need some protein to assist in rebuilding from the rigors of the race.

The night before the race try to go to sleep at a reasonable time. It is also important to get a good night's sleep over the next couple of nights so that your sleep resevoir is well stocked.

The night before the race, get your race gear in order, lay out socks/shoes, shorts, etc. Pin your race number to the front of your shirt. (putting it on the back labels you as a neophyte ;) Do not wear the race t-shirt during the race. This is sacreligious. You'll also have a timing chip to attach to your shoe lace. You can either unlace one of the eyelets and put the timing chip on the inside of the shoe or use the plastic attacher to securely attach it to the shoe lace. I'd probably recommend the latter as you'll need to give it back at the end of the race and won't feel like bending down and digging around with your shoe. People will be there to assist you with this.

On the day of the race, plan to get to the starting line a minimum of 30 minutes prior to race time (7:00 am). Feel free to do some light stretching and jogging to warm up. However, don't let the large numbers of people doing their own thing intimidate you and get you doing something you're not used to. Just treat the race like a regular workout. Do whatever you would to prepare for a workout.

There will be lots and lots of runners there. You have prepared and deserve to be there as well. Be confident and visualize yourself striding purposefully along during the race.

At the start of the race, there will be several groups seperated out. Just settle in to whichever group you are assigned to and make friends with someone around you. Be careful as you approach the starting line as this can be one of the more dangerous points of the race due to the massive amount of people trying to get going. The key here is to stay on your feet. When I ran cross country races, I always repeated to myself at the beginning "don't fall, don't fall." The temptation can exist at the beginning to zoom out of the gate and zip along. Resist this urge. It is much better to go a bit slower at the beginning and then have energy later on than to go fast for the first couple miles and die at the end. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your groove as the race progresses.

Speaking of grooves, make it your own and not someone elses. While running with others and focusing on someone's back in front of you can be helpful, it is important that we not let them dictate our pace. Just monitor how your body is feeling throughout the race.

Water/Sports drink stops will be throughout the race. One good way for connecting with a volunteer is to make eye contact with them and initiate the hand off. Try to say thank you if you remember, volunteers make the race world go round. Pinching the cup so that it makes a spout is a useful technique which will allow you to continue running while drinking. Feel free to use this time as a brief walking break as well. If you don't need the whole cup, you are welcome to throw it on the ground. They will have a crew to pick these up after the race.

At some point towards the end of the race, there will be photographers taking pictures. Be sure to smile, or look intensely focused, whichever is your preference. :) You'll want to preserve this memory.

At the end of the race keep walking to avoid cramping and be sure to drink water and/or sports drink to replenish supplies. If you are so inclined, you may want to schedule a massage for Monday when you get back. It is better to wait a couple days to allow some of the deep tissue muscle damage to repair. Light massage is ok if you would like right after the race.

I am proud of all of y'all. You've done great work in your preperation. If anyone has any questions please feel free to give me a call. During the race I'll be out on the course cheering for you somewhere. Go team!
Happy running,

Coach Andrew

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