Okay so it is a week out from your big race. You've trained. You've woken up at God awful hours to meet your running group for the Sunday long run. You have sweated in places you didn’t even think had sweat glands! You have put in your dues and now it is time to cash in.
So make sure all that hard work pays off and you make the most of your training and race day.
I had a friend who once taught me something invaluable. She would always say, “First, do no harm.” That is the stance you need to take the week before a race. It is NOT time to try that new supercharged, extra cushioned, gel-infused running shoe. It is NOT time to try that new Thai restaurant down the street where every dish on the menu has five out of five chili’s next to it to indicate it’s heat level. And it is definitely NOT time to tell your sister you’d love nothing more than to take her six year old twins to Disneyland for the day. No, no and definitely no.
Ok, so what CAN you do the week before your big race? Here are my top five.
- Taper- Your mileage should be decreased by 25% of your average weekly mileage the week before a race. You still need to run, but make your runs easy. The goal is to get out, get the blood pumping and stay loose. So no racing in your workouts. Go light and enjoy.
- Hydrate-Let me emphasize this. Hydrate with a non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated source of liquid. Vitalyte is my beverage of choice (duh). Not only does it have the perfect balance of electrolytes to make sure my body gets the right minerals, but it also uses glucose as it’s carbohydrate source. The glucose actually is the carrier that allows the body to absorb the electrolytes. Glucose works, hops and barley do not. Embroider that on a pillow.
- Eat-Believe it or not people forget to eat when it gets near race day or they get nervous so they don’t eat as much as usual. I’m not saying go to the nearest Schezuan Buffet and become intimate with the Kung Pao Chicken. I am saying though stick to easily digestible and nourishing foods that will sustain you. Things like oatmeal with berries for breakfast or a protein smoothie a few hours before your run will keep you super charged for your weekend race. Also, don’t forget your Tri Phase. I couldn't dream about running without it.
- Relax-Yep, the hay is in the barn so to speak. All your work has been done so enjoy this time and take a moment to reward yourself. Get a light massage or a facial. Take some time to read a book or whatever relaxes you. Make sure to get plenty of rest and let those around you know that you need some extra down-time. Ask your family for their support in creating a restful environment.
- Celebrate-After the race! Make sure to spend some time in the beer garden or getting together with your friends (cheers to the hops!). After all, running is something to enjoy and celebrated with your friends and family. Take the time to celebrate your hard work!
Good luck to you all (and myself...) and hope to see you all at the Hollywood Half Marathon next weekend!