Getting Ready for Race Day: Short, Local Races

On Sunday, I ran a four mile race.

For a short race such as Race to Deliver, I like to begin my race preparations three days out.

Three days before race day, I go for my final pre-race training run.  I wanted to keep my legs fresh for race day but not feel as though I was interrupting my long term training plans.  So in this instance, I chose a long run.

This is also the point when I really begin to focus on hydration and getting enough rest.  I made sure to drink eight glasses of water throughout the day, in addition to what I consumed during my run.

When I returned home, I headed to the laundry room with my running gear so that I would have fresh changes to choose from for my race.  Afterwards, I took a Vinyasa Yoga class at my gym and crawled in to bed at a reasonable hour.

Two days before race day, I like to get up early and hit the gym.  Getting up early is important as it keeps your body on “race schedule” and makes it easier to get out of bed on race day.  On Friday, I spent twenty minutes on the stair climber followed by forty minutes on an elliptical.  I then did squats, lunges, push ups and abdominal exercises.  Not wanting to run on sore legs, two days out was a good time to get in some hardcore lower body strength training, as it gave me enough time to recover before the race.  I ended my work out by stretching and foam rolling for five-to-ten minutes each.

After work, I picked up my race bib and tee from the New York Road Runner’s office and headed out to dinner with El Profesor.  At dinner, I started paying attention to my carbohydrate and sodium intake.  I try not to overdo it, but I know that carbohydrate and sodium stores can be depleted during races and hard running sessions, so I wanted to be sure to take in the right amount.  I usually cook on Friday night, but last week El Profesor and I ate at Spring Natural Kitchen, where I ordered the vegetable stir fry.  We went to Peacefood Cafe for dessert, and I treated myself to a gluten free chocolate chip cookie.  Carbs and salt?  Done and done.

One day before race day, I like to take it easy.  Truth be told, I usually do much more on the day before race day than I did this past Saturday.  Ordinarily I would go to the gym for an hour and work out on an elliptical and stretch, but I really didn’t feel like doing anything on Saturday.  It had been a crazy week.  We spent the previous weekend with family and my work week was crammed in to three-and-a-half days so that I could attend an evening conference on Thursday and a full day conference on Friday.  I also thought that I would have a much better chance of meeting my time goal if I just took it easy.

I started the morning by doing some cooking.  I made a batch of my homemade strawberry apple sauce with apples I had bought at the farmer’s market and a big pot of lentil vegetable soup.  Once the cooking was finished, El Profesor and I headed to a sports bar to catch up with some friends and watch the Michigan game.  Since I was pretty concerned about adequate hydration at this point, I limited myself to one drink and chose a cider.  More carbs, right?

After the game, we took a walk and went to Emack and Bolio’s for a snack and then picked up some groceries at Fairway.  We headed home and I warmed up soup for dinner.  I wanted to minimize my fiber intake the night before the race, so I skipped my usual salad or side of greens and opted for two slices of brown rice bread, toasted and topped with Earth Balance.  I roasted some salmon for El Professor.

After dinner, I laid out everything that I would need for the race the next day.  I decided to wear a pair of compression crops so that my legs wouldn’t be too warm, and paired them with a tank and long sleeve shirt.  I even went so far as to choose my socks and a regular no-slip headband to wear under my fleece headband so that I could remove the fleece if I felt too warm without having my sweaty hair fly in to my face throughout the race.

I knew that the weather would be between 35 and 40 degrees at the start and was unsure of whether I would want to keep my long sleeve shirt on, so I clipped my race bib to my SPIbelt so that I would have the option of removing layers.  I took out two Larabars; one for breakfast, one to munch on in my corral.  I also took a few dollars so that I could purchase a water bottle and whatever else I may have wanted on the way to Central Park.

Both the start and finish of the race were located only a mile and a half from my home, which was a treat.  This required minimal preparations in determining how to arrive (on foot) and when to arrive (as close as possible to race start time).  I ran to the start and settled in to my corral fifteen or so minutes before the start of the race.  At the start, I like to check out the competition.

And then I’m off.

You can read more about my race here.

My little disclaimer:  I am not a doctor or medical professional.  The information provided in this post is a description of my own experience and opinions.  What works for me may not work for you.  If you are interested in beginning a training plan or making changes to your diet, please contact your physician.

2 thoughts on “Getting Ready for Race Day: Short, Local Races

  1. Pingback: Race Recap: Join The Voices « Rachel On and On

  2. Pingback: Getting Ready for Race Day: 2013 NYC Half Edition | Rachel On and On

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