Saturday, January 12, 2013

Half marathon tomorrow! Tips for the days leading up to a Half Marathon

Life Lately: Sorry I have still been posting relatively sparsely, I am in the process of sending in my grad application right now and that has been consuming most of my time and computer tolerance energy (yes, that's a real thing, and it is also not present in superfluous amounts.....). I am so excited but also so scared to be applying; once the applications are in all I can do is wait, and that is just nerve-wracking for me. So lets move on to another subject......RUNNING.

Running Lately: So I somehow forgot to mention this sooner (perhaps because my dad and I signed up less than a week ago) but we're running Allstate's Los Angeles Half Marathon tomorrow! I am so excited for this run because it should be really pretty and the weather is supposed to be cold but sunny, which I love for running. It is all along the Venice boardwalk and the beach, and if nothing else, it will be a gorgeous way to spend the first few hours of sunday.

My goals: Since this is my 11th or 12th half marathon (I've lost count by now)  I'm kinda over running it just to finish, in fact I have been over that for awhile. I have been trying to break 2 hours in a half for about a year now, so that is my goal tomorrow. That being said I won't go into a spiral of depression if it doesn't happen, I mean I am just grateful that I am able to run, and that I can enjoy running with my favorite person (aka my faja). We probably won't run together for this half since if I want to break 2 hours I have to run just a hair faster than his preferred pace, but we will start together and celebrate together and that's all that counts! I am a little bummed to not have my favorite running buddy with me (who just so happens to also be my big sis from my sorority) since we've run so many amazing half marathons together, but alas, there will be more half marathons in life.

The Taper: Oh lords.........the dreaded taper. I love it and I hate it. It's nice to give my body a rest from running, but my heart and soul are craving it like crazy.
Foam rollin'.........like a boss
I went from running about 5 days a week, to only running 2 days this past week and getting some walks in. The distances of my runs are also decreased in order to allow me to be in top shape for tomorrow's run. I ran 8 miles on tuesday, 6 miles on thursday.....and that's it until tomorrow. It's weird because as restless as I get and as much as I want to run, it's somewhat satisfying knowing that I've got this pent up energy which will (hopefully) help me achieve my pace goal tomorrow. This isn't necessarily part of the taper, but I have been super diligent about foam rolling everyday to aid my muscle and fascia recover, and help prevent injury. Also foam rolling is just fun.

Eating for a Race: I definitely am a huge proponent of carbo loading, but it's not as important for half marathons as it is for marathons. Honestly, for a half marathon, as long as you eat almost entirely carbs the day before the race, you're pretty much set. I have a few key tips for eating before a half marathon that have worked well for me in the past:
- Avoid fiber rich foods the day before the half: Now I know this seems counter intuitive, and normally I wouldn't say this, but any fiber just means added weight and bulk, and all that's gonna do is slow you down on race day.
- Don't over eat, just change the ratios of what you eat: Focus on getting a higher proportion of your calories from carbs than from protein and fats than you usually do. I prefer to avoid fatty foods in general a few days before the race because I have found I just feel better that way.
- Eat simple....Carbohydrates that is: Anything from baked potatoes, mashed potatoes  white rice, conventional pasta, white bread, tamales to chex cereals and pancakes. The key here is to have simple and refined carbohydrates. Normally I would strongly advize against this, as it's not the healthiest way to eat from day to day, but these foods are pure digestible carbs, digestible being the key word. They don't have much fiber to speak of, so they won't weigh you down on race day.
- Eat a banana: I know this doesn't quite line up with the avoiding fiber thing, but one banana won't realy add that much fiber to your system but it WILL provide you with some potassium and other excellent electrolytes that you want to make sure you have in your system come race day.
- Drink lots of Fluids.......all day: This is probably more important than drinking water right before the race. If you are properly hydrated the day BEFORE the half, then all you have to so is maintain that hydration throughout the race and you will minimize your cramping and fatigue.

And that's about all the (faux) running wisdom I have to share with you all about the days leading up to half marathons. I hope found it useful, or at least entertaining, and I will post a race recap soon!

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