Thursday, November 1, 2007

Remember Why

WOW....I was doing some internet research this morning on nutrition for the coming week in preparation for Big Sur.

How appropriate that I came across this 2005 article from the Monterey County Herald - which is completely in reference to BIG SUR! It definitely spoke to me. And the information is good - no matter what race you are getting ready to run :)

Some tips for half-marathon novices

Donald Buraglio and Mike Dove
Nov. 04, 2005

We assume you've done the basic training to get ready for the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay this Sunday. But as a novice runner, you may still be looking for some last-second advice and know that last week's column on race strategy for experienced runners doesn't fit your profile.

With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind to help you conquer the 13.1-mile course.

• Think positive: Your brain is one of your most important tools during a long run. Unfortunately, it can also be your worst enemy. Use the power of positive thinking to help you succeed.

Starting now, continually tell yourself that you are going to have a wonderful day. Visualize yourself feeling strong and persevering through any adversity to cross the finish line. After all, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, 90 percent of the race is half mental.

• Fuel up: Starting today, eat carbohydrates to top off your glycogen (energy) stores and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Pasta, potatoes, bagels and rice are great pre-race meals, but keep the overall size of your meal consistent with your normal routine.

On race morning, wake up early and eat a banana or bagel to maintain your glycogen supply. Keep drinking small amounts of water or sports drink but not so much that the dam bursts before you get to the porta-potty.

• Gear up in advance: At Saturday's race expo, you will be given a microchip that goes on your shoe laces as well as a number to pin on your shirt. Do all this on Saturday night so you don't have extra hassles on Sunday morning.

• Do nothing new: Race day isn't the time to experiment with new gear or routines. Don't do or use anything that you haven't done before on a training run. Don't buy new clothes or shoes at the expo and wear them in the race. Stick with what you have found to be comfortable while training.

The same rule applies to food. Don't eat anything unusual on Saturday or Sunday. Give your body what it's accustomed to before a run, and you won't upset your stomach during the race.

• Go early: Allow enough time to park and wait in a bathroom line. Dress appropriately, double knot your shoes and drop off your bag before the start. If your goal is simply to finish the race, there is no need to do a lengthy warm up. Consider the first mile or two your warm-up miles.

• Know your place: Follow race etiquette and line up in the proper starting area (indicated by signs) at the start based on your bib number. You don't want to be stampeded by faster runners behind you trying to pass. If in doubt, move farther back. Don't worry about the time it takes to get to the starting line as your microchip will record your actual time from start to the finish.

Once the race starts, if you have to walk or slow down considerably make sure you move to the side of the road, out of the way of other runners. If you are with a group of runners, try to keep only two or three abreast so runners don't have to weave around you to get by.

• Start slowly: Most novice runners start too fast then pay the price in agony later. It's better to run slightly below your goal pace for the first few miles, then settle into that pace.

Don't feel compelled to keep up with anyone once the race starts. If you start conservatively, you'll be feeling good and passing people later in the race, which is a great feeling.

• Use the aid: It will be crowded at aid stations but make sure you stop and drink some water or sports drink even at the first-aid station. If you need to slow down to drink, make sure you move to the side of the road.

• Watch the pace: Wear a watch and check it every mile to see how fast you are going.

Volunteers will shout pace times at various mile markers as well. The markers are accurate -- so trust them! If you see that you are substantially ahead of that pace, slow down to avoid paying the price at the end.

• Enjoy the day: Despite what we wrote last week, races are to enjoy. The energy and enthusiasm of 5,000 runners and walkers is contagious. Be thankful you are participating and healthy enough to enjoy the day with others. Enjoy looking at one the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

Remember why: Every novice runner has a reason for trying this race. It may be to raise money or to raise awareness for a cause, to shed some extra pounds and get healthy, to find an identity or regain control of some aspect of your life. Race day is when those ambitions are realized, so when the going gets tough, keep reminding yourself of why you started.

Monterey County Herald


Wes said...

I agree! Good stuff for every race :-)

Michelle said...

Very good advice - particularly the reminder to start slow. That is what made all the difference for me in my half. It can be tough to do, but it definitely pays off in the end.

Dan Seifring said...

Thank you for sharing I will be sure to be reading that again.

And even better it was originally written on my birthday.

Pat said...

great article. I will be adding something similar on the RnR blog. Last year, the TNT group suggested we eat a salt packet before the race.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Should post that over at Runner's Lounge. It's great stuff!

Marcy said...

Ooohhhh good advice!! ;D Thanks for sharing that!

J~mom said...

Great article! Thanks for sharing!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

that article was written by runningandrambling, a fantastic blogger based in Montery County...I highly recommend you check out his blog - he's an awesome writer and has a major love affair with big sur.

Donald said...

Hi - I'm glad you found that article. Sometimes our Herald articles don't come up on search engines as often as blog articles do.

As Angie mentioned, I've written a ton of things about Big Sur on my regular blog. Feel free to visit anytime.

Good luck in your race this weekend!

Andria said...

Definitely good advice. Thanks for posting it.