Preparing for a half marathon takes months, but that last week before the race is your time to begin focusing on race day logistics.
Here is how I tackled the week leading up to the NYC Half:
6 days to race day, Monday: I “saved” one of the weekend’s scheduled 6 milers until Monday since I was traveling and really wanted to run one more lap of Central Park’s loop before race day. Afterwards, I had dinner with running buddy at 3rd Avenue Ale House. I went to bed early but barely slept.
5 days to race day, Tuesday: I took a sick day. I just felt awful from the lack of sleep. I overate a bunch of carbs then pulled myself together and did a yin yoga video followed by a hot shower and pedicure to attend to a blister that formed during the previous night’s run. I watched a movie in bed and went to sleep at a reasonable hour.
4 days to race day, Wednesday: I woke up at 7 AM feeling somewhat normal. It took a while to get myself out the door but eventually did 3.65 miles of speed training in Central Park followed by a strength series (dips, side lunges, back lunges, squats), stretches and an easy jog home. The blister was on the mend but I consider it wise that I coated it with antibiotic pain relief ointment before heading out for my run.
At this point, I really began focusing on what I was eating: Larabar (prerun), brown rice cereal and almond milk with vanilla Spirutein shake (breakfast), 100 calorie serving of raw almonds and two chocolate calcium chews (late morning pick-me-up), yogurt, pear and peanut butter banana sandwich on millet bread (lunch), healthy birthday dinner for Mom at Hangawi, followed by munching on gluten free cookies before bed (dinner).
3 days to race day, Thursday: I woke up at 7 AM, still tired but slept hard last night. Again it took a while to get myself moving, but I ate a Larabar (prerun) and headed out for a three mile run with speed work. I ran it a bit easier than Wednesday’s run, though. Then did squats, lunges, side lunges and dips by a park bench followed by abs, push ups and foam rolling at home. I had a Spirutein shake and a banana but was still hungry so I added one slice of millet bread with peanut butter (breakfast). Around 11 AM I ate a granola bar (late morning pick-me-up), but really wished I had more almonds stashed in my desk. They are so much more satisfying. For lunch, I ended up at the juice bar near my office and ate a medley of snacks (quinoa salad, carob almond butter cup and some dried pineapple from the bulk section). After work I headed home and ate two slices of gluten free bread with earth balance, a bowl of vegetable soup and two gluten free cookies toppped with peanut butter (dinner).
My appetite was pretty hardcore that day.
I took a yoga class in the evening and got in bed around 9. My back was fussy so I rested on my heating pad for about a half an hour before unplugging and going to sleep.
2 days to race day, Friday: I set my alarm for two possible times: 7 AM and 8:45 AM because it was my last chance to sleep in before the race. I woke up before it went off at 7 (body must have been confused since I fell asleep around 10) but was feeling pretty low on energy, so I stayed under the covers and plugged my heating pad back in for a half hour. When I emerged from bed, I ate a bowl of rice crips cereal with almond milk and sliced banana and chased it with a Spirutein shake (breakfast). Then I cleaned my apartment and washed a load of workout gear (containing all possible outfit choices for Sunday) all the while, having a Ke$ha dance party via YouTube. I packed lunch and headed off to work (see Wednesday’s lunch selection above). On the way home from work I stopped off at the race expo. I spent a bit of time chatting with NYRR staffers and then picked up my bib and race tee before heading out. I also got a couple of blog posts off my plate and was very excited for El Profesor’s return. We went out for dinner and I ordered a grilled vegetable sandwich on toasted rye bread.
1 day to race day, Saturday: I woke up at 8 and went for a quick three mile run. After I returned, El Profesor and I had a fun but low key rest of the day. We looked at apartments (!!!) and went to the gym (I went to yoga, he did cardio). I hung around for a while after yoga because I was having this weird groin discomfort and my teacher gave me some great stretches to loosen it up before the race. Afterwards, I went to Fairway so that we could make dinner together at home. I had kept a food log from the day before my 13.1 time trial two weeks earlier and loosely followed that as an eating guide for the day (see tomorrow’s post). While dinner was cooking, I laid out everything that I needed for the race and packed an outfit change. We got in to bed pretty early and watched Adventureland under the covers. We’d seen it before and I knew it was just the sort of movie I could relax with the night before a race.
For a recap of the 2013 NYC Half and more in the Getting Ready for Race Day series, check out these links: