Monday, May 27, 2013

Final Prep and Tips for Hospital Hill Run!

This blog post is part of a series of posts associated with the Hospital Hill Run Blog Team.  For more information, see my original post.  To see all blog posts, review those that are tagged as "Hospital Hill Blog Team".  The race is sold but feel free to check out their website!

We are less than a week away and I've posted some of my tips and tricks for having a good race.  Hope you find them helpful!

Dress Rehearsal
By now we should have a pretty good idea of what the race day weather is going to be like.  You should start taking a look at your wardrobe of running clothes to decide what you plan to wear.  If you are buying a new outfit to congratulate yourself on making it through the spring cold months of training, make that purchase now.  On your next run (which should be relatively short because of your taper), wear your outfit.  Remember rule #1: Nothing New On Race Day!!

I'll probably be wearing something like this....
The current outlook on the weather makes it appear rainy.  So the one exception to the nothing new on race day rule is what to do if it rains?  I doubt very many people sought out a rainy day to run in, so how does one prepare for a rainy race?  Rain affects people differently.  First guys versus girls.  Guys... if you haven't had this issue, it's much more likely on rainy day.  Water makes clothes heavier, specifically shirts.  They can be a bit more abrasive.  As sexy as finish line photos are, bloody nipples do not enhance the image.  Make sure you've applied some sort of anti-chafe balm thoroughly.

If you are a glasses wearer, bring a hat.  If you are concerned about getting cold and wet while waiting for the race to start, use a trash bag with head/arm holes cutout which you can throw out at some point during the race.  For post-race, you will appreciate having a change of clothes, including fresh socks and shoes.

Race Day Nutrition
If you haven't figured out your nutrition plan, start doing that now!!  During the half marathon you will definitely need to consider what food you will take with you on the run such as gels or chomps.  You probably should have been practicing this already with your long runs, but don't despair.  You still have time!  This also includes hydration like water and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade.

Hospital Hill will have Water and Gatorade about every 1.5 miles on course.  If you prefer some other type of electrolyte drink and haven't trained with Gatorade, I'd recommend using some sort of water belt to run with (but make sure you observe the previous tip... train like you race!)  My personal motto is to not rely on the aid stations.  I generally always carry my own water, gatorade, and gels with me, especially for hot races when I may need a drink in between aid stations.

I also plan to take a gel (Gu brand, vanilla bean or banana strawberry.. yeah, I'm kind of a girl) every 5 miles.  I also take a gel or a Gatorade Prime while in the start line.  I have also started drinking a latte on the drive into the race site, but that may be a guilty pleasure.  It does have 150mg of caffeine!  It also helps with the pre-race trip(s) to the port-a-potty!

CARB Loading!
If you remember from my posts about aerobic versus anaerobic exercise, I mentioned that glycogen is a critical ingredient in the energy conversion recipe; however, it is in limited supply.  You could run a 5k with the normal glycogen stores but when talking about possibly 10k and definitely half marathons or more, those glycogen reserves will deplete, causing you to bonk.

To keep your body primed with quickly accessible glycogen, it is generally a good idea to increase the source of glycogen prior to the race.  This is generally done by eating carbohydrates, such as pasta or rice.

I don't just load up the night before because your body really doesn't have a chance to fully digest and convert those carbs into useable glycogen.  In fact, I typically start this process 3 or 4 days prior to the race.  I cook about 1 pound of whole wheat rotini and store it in the fridge.  Then with each meal (lunch and dinner) I will have some of the cooked pasta with olive oil.  I also like to add in some smoked rotisserie chicken that I have purchased whole and then shredded by hand.  It adds a nice flavor and healthy proteins (if you make sure to use the lean meat and no skin).

nom nom nom
By doing this in the days prior to the race, your give you body ample time to load up and keep your glycogen stores topped off.

Another key ingredient is to make sure you continue to hydrate with water but be sure to stay away from the scale.  Carbs like to hold onto water, so your body weight will be higher than normal.  Don't freak out.  I do take the same approach with water, I make sure I start drinking an excess amount of water the full week prior to race day.  It helps clean out the system AND gets your body primed up with water for the big day.

<RANT>The increased consumption of carbohydrates prior to a race is often shortened because, let's face it, carbohydrates is a mouthful.  Some people refer to it as Carb Loading or Carbo Loading.  It makes me cringe when I hear people say Carbo Loading.  If you are going to shorten a word, shorten it!  CARB LOADING!!  People on the Atkins diet didn't avoid carbos, they avoided carbs! </RANT>  Sorry about that... had to get it off my chest.  Say what you want, but don't be surprised if you get a carb-induced stink eye from me.

It's A Hill, Get Over It!
Make no mistake, this race has hills.  This will be my fourth running of Hospital Hill Run Half Marathon.  In my previous three races, my Garmin showed an average of about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.  Something to keep in mind is that this race starts and ends at almost the same spot.  So the old adage of "What goes up, must come down" comes to mind.  So the first thing to keep in mind is that you will be reversing that ascent.

So don't let the hills scare you.  Take them easy so you will have energy to make up that time on the down hill.  Your legs will thank you.  What I try to do is narrow my focus on the hills.  I look about 20 - 30 feet ahead of me and shorten my step.  I try pumping my arms a little more and lift my legs up a little higher, like taking stairs. On major hills, I try counting to 20 before taking a moment to evaluate where I am on the hill.

Most Important Tip: HAVE FUN!
I know this is a little corney but the one thing I've discovered this past year is to take it all in and have fun.  Joke around with the other runners... see some kids watching the race, give them some high fives! It will do nothing but make your experience so much better!  JoeVI and I really played the part when we ran the Disney Marathon back in January.

Good luck!  See you at the finish line!

Feel free to stop by and ask questions in the comments or hop over to Twitter to chat me there!  You can find me as @ScottyTris.

1 comment:

  1. I've got rule #1 down. When does consistent training come into the picture?