What a long day, and it wasn’t even the day of the marathon.
I got up at 5:30 this morning to be able to do interviews for our local news channel about the race. It was freezing and I was not appropriately dressed, but it prepared me for what tomorrow morning will probably be like. I did 4 interviews and then went home to try and get an hour or two more of sleep before going to lab. That sleep was fitful and not all that beneficial.
After going to lab, my roommate and I went to the expo. This was so small compared to the Rock n’ Rolls which I knew from going last year but I was still able to come away with a few things. I got a race belt for gels and my bib and registered for the Half Marathon in Atlanta I am doing with my friend Lucy in March.
The race is to benefit the arts so they had a bunch of kids art displayed. We thought these were pretty cool.
The rest of the day I went for my jitter jog (what I call the run I do the day before the race), did some yoga, hung out with the pup for a while, got some work done and just tried to relax as much as possible.
A lot of what they interviewed me about today is what I do to get ready for a race, especially the day before. I am by no means an expert but I do have some tips just from experience.
1. Drink water all day! The day before is when you really want to hydrate. I usually take a liter sized gatorade and dilute it half way with water and try to drink all of that through the day.
2. Eat your carbs. I had left overs of the rice dinner we had last night which has great carbs (even though people usually just think of pasta). I also try to munch on pretzels through the day because they have carbs and salt (which helps you retain water).
3. Go for a jitter jog. Head out for a short jog (very short, and I mean JOG). This helps to keep the dreams of forgetting how to run over night and just gets your legs moving. It’s also a great way to do a little warm up before getting a good stretch in.
4. Don’t try anything new race day. This means shoes, clothes, food, NOTHING. Eat what you have eaten pre race and during the race. I don’t even like to change up flavor of gels. I have also read recently that if you are going to drink a sports drink at an aid station don’t try and combine it with anything else other than water. So if you pass an aid station with pretzels, gatorade and water, either go water and pretzel or just gatorade. This helps prevent GI problems.
5. Don’t go out too fast. Don’t run your first ever 6 minute mile in the first mile of a race, you will regret it at mile 18, I promise. (I have done this once). Try to run splits within 10 seconds (up/down) of your goal pace the whole race.
6. Remember to have fun. This is supposed to be an enjoyable experience, don’t forget that even if you are in pain. Put a smile on your face and know the pain is only temporary, but once you are done, you are a marathoner for life!
7. Be realistic. Don’t set a goal that is way out of your reach. You don’t want to finish a marathon and be bummed about it, you should be proud no matter what. I had initially planned to run a 3;35 for this race but I have been having knee pain and have been sick with a head cold for the past week so I have readjusted my goal just to finish without injury. If I run a 3:35 I would be excited, but I can’t say that is a realistic goal for my current state.
8. Drink water even if you aren’t thirsty. In winter races when it is cold, it isn’t as easy to know when you need water. I take at least a few sips at every stop (usually 2 miles apart) so I can stay hydrated. Just because you aren’t sweating or aren’t thirsty doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink.
I’m sure I will think of 100,000 more things by the time the race is over so I will add an addendum as I think of things.
If anyone is racing tomorrow, have a great time and good luck! For everyone else, have a great Saturday run!