On Saturday, I raced my first 15K.
I loved the distance. It was much more challenging than a 10K, but didn’t require nearly as much training and preparation as a half marathon. I think that I would prepare similarly for a winter 10K as I did in the days leading up to this race, however the training is different. Like a 10K, the 15K is a distance where speed matters quite a lot; but like the half marathon, endurance matters even more.
I began my preparations three days out.
Three days before race day (Wednesday), I went for my final pre-race training run. With a middle-distance race a few days away, I wanted to keep my mileage on the lower end and focus on speed, instead. I chose a 5 mile tempo run in Central Park, running through the 5 mile loop that would be a part of my race a few days later.
I also began to focus on my hydration at this point. I find it harder to make myself drink tons of cold water when it’s cold outside, and often struggle with dehydration in the winter months for just that reason. So I didn’t limit myself to water. I also drank tea and green juices from Juice Generation.
In the evening, I washed all of my dirty running gear so that I would have a full wardrobe of options to choose from for Saturday’s race.
Two days before race day (Thursday), I headed out for another run early in the morning. Ordinarily, I might have taken Thursday and Friday off from running entirely, but I am in the middle of a run streak, and need to run at least one mile each day to keep the streak going. I was planning to run a 3.3 mile trail run that day, but at the halfway point I felt fatigued and sore and knew that it wasn’t worth it to push through. So I cut my run short and headed home. I decided to trust my training.
After work, I stopped at Whole Foods for dinner. I wanted something spicy and the hot bar delivered. I tried a mix of a few vegan Indian dishes and grabbed a cucumber and avocado brown rice sushi for lunch the next day.
I felt like I needed a bit more cardio, but didn’t want to do anything too demanding. I decided to walk uptown for about two miles to my gym.
I really wanted to get a good stretching session in before the race, so I took a Vinyasa Yoga class at my gym on Thursday night. The teacher asked for requests and I said that I wanted to focus on calf stretches. I left class feeling loose and relaxed, but decided to foam roll for a while before heading home.
One day before race day (Friday), my goals were to stay off of my feet at much as possible, eat plain foods and focus on getting enough carbohydrates and water in to my system.
I took the day off from work because I was struggling with some congestion and asthma, and did not want it to derail my race performance. This was my target race for the fall, so I wanted to be in the best shape that I could on Saturday morning.
I woke up early but stayed in bed, reading and working until about 10 AM. Then I went to the gym, with hopes of doing more, but ultimately just ran a mile at an easy pace on a treadmill and then headed to the mat. Once I was on the stretching mat, I did a series of ab exercises, and stretched and foam rolled for about a half an hour. Then I walked home and ate my brown rice veggie sushi for lunch. Brown rice met the carb requirement, and the soy sauce added to my sodium intake.
After a shower, I made a green protein smoothie, which I savored. I knew that after this I would have to be mindful of my fiber intake for the rest of the day in order to avoid gastric distress during the race.
I conned El Profesor in to picking up my race bib with me from the New York Road Runners offices, by agreeing to go on a short walk across the park to Peacefood to get some of their awesome chocolate covered macaroons (his favorite) and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (my favorite). We also split a juice on the walk back toward NYRR.
With my race bib and tee in hand, I headed home where I spent much of the rest of the day in bed, reading and watching movies on Netflix.
While dinner was cooking, I checked my twitter feed to see what I had been wearing for my long runs in weather conditions similar to the race. It was supposed to be about 35 degrees for the race on Saturday, and I had run a 35 degree long run a week or so ago, so I copied that outfit. I laid out my fleece lined tech shirt, a sports bra, a pair of running tights, fleece headband, my Gap underwear and socks. I placed my D-tag on my Saucony Guide 5’s and put my SPIbelt, race bib, some cash, two Larabars and two Power Bar Energy Gels on top of my clothes so that I could easily grab everything in the morning.
I ate an early dinner around 6:30 of lentil vegetable soup and a baked potato loaded with Earth Balance, salt and pepper. El Professor had baked salmon and spicy roasted potatoes (recipe soon!).
At 8 o’clock, I was looking for a snack, so I had some corn flakes and almond milk. We spent the rest of the evening taking it easy and hanging out.
The lights were off by 10 PM, and although I was a bit nervous and having some breathing issues, I was asleep by 11:30.
I woke up at 6:30 and headed out for my race.
For more information on race day morning and my full race recap for the Ted Corbitt Classic, click the link.
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.