Whether you are packing up last minute things for Boston or you are lacing up and getting off the couch for your very first run ever here are some great training tips and advice for all levels of runners.
OUT OF TOWN RACES:
Nothing is quite as exciting as getting to race in a different city/state – especially races such as Boston that you have worked so hard to qualify for, NYC or a tropical destination. Whether it is a race a few hours away or across the country nothing can ruin you experience more than not being prepared. Here are a few tips for making sure you have your best out of town race experience ever:
- Once you have registered for the race, go ahead and book your flight and hotel (or other accommodations) immediately. Hotels book up very quickly (some even a year in advance).
- When packing, write down a list of everything you will need to wear and check that list off…think about from head to toe what you will need including sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, I.D. etc. – visualize yourself running and what all you have on and then check that list off twice.
- Be prepared for all kinds of weather. The forecast may say sunny and 68 but when you arrive it may change to rainy and 40. Have a backup plan and layers of other clothing just in case. Goodwill or other thrift shops are great to get “throw away” clothing and most races donate thrown away clothing to shelters as well.
- Most people will remember their nutrition for the run but what about dinner the night before and breakfast the morning of? Make sure you will have available food that you normally eat pre-run…will the hotel have bagels, fruit, oatmeal (whatever you eat) available or do you need to bring that with you. Dinner – did you make reservations for your pre-race carb loading meal? The night before a race is NOT the time to try something new…find a restaurant that serves a meal that you are used to eating prior to a long run to reduce stomach surprises.
- Hydrate – when you are traveling, driving or on an airplane, it is easy to forget to stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids not only the day before a race but start 2 – 3 days earlier to make sure that you are fully hydrated.
- Rest – if at all possible, try to get to your destination 2 days before the race. This allows you time to enjoy the expo and the city for a day so that the day before you can relax and rest up. If you can’t get there early, enjoy the expo but don’t try to do too much. Maybe you can plan on see the sights after the run. Plan on an early dinner and then get to bed at a reasonable time. In all honesty though, most people do not sleep well the night before a race so getting a good night’s sleep 2 days before is really your best bet.
- Finally, have a plan on race morning – know where the start is, how long it will take you to get there and allow a little more time than you think because traffic can sometimes be heavier than expected on race day with spectators and runners. Be sure to get up early enough to eat your breakfast, take care of race jitter stomach issues and time to get a little warm up in before the start.
ARE YOU PEACHTREE ROAD RACE READY?
Whether this is your first Peachtree Road Race or your 20th you still need to be prepared. Many people run this one race a year and though it may not seem like a big deal to run a 10k to some people, the Peachtree is not just an ordinary 10K…it is always held in one of the hottest months of Georgia there is, July. Not only do you have the steamy heat and humidity of Atlanta but you are also packed into corrals with 60,000 other people and not to mention you have to climb “cardiac hill”. Here are some tips to help keep you safe, healthy and help make the most out of your Peachtree experience:
- If you are a new runner – get started training now. Yes, it is still about 3 months away but you need to get some good base mileage in ahead of time before tackling the Peachtree. (More beginner runner tips in the next section.)
- Get in some shorter, hilly runs during the heat of the day. You don’t want to do your long run or even all of your short runs in the middle of the blazing sun but getting a few short 1 – 3 mile runs in the heat of the day will help acclimate your body to the brutal Georgia July weather.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…not only do you need to hydrate 2 – 3 days before the race, if you run and exercise in Georgia during the summer months you need to be hydrating every single day. Most people who have stomach issues, cramping, headaches and fatigue are dehydrated.
- Electrolytes. Many people get confused about hydration and electrolytes. Hydration with water is very important but you can actually drink too much water. If you are exerting yourself (especially in extreme heat) you are losing salt and potassium as well. These nutrients need to be replaced as well to keep blood salt levels balanced. This can easily be done by alternating sports drinks like PowerAde or taking salt tablets (such as Endurolytes or S-Caps) along with your water.
- Finally, just like an out of town race, you need to make sure you have a dinner meal similar to what you have eaten before your training runs, have your clothing and accessory check-list done, breakfast planned, get a good night’s sleep (at least 2 days before the race) and allow more time than you think to get to the race. There are 60,000 runners and probably at least half of that amount of spectators…there will be traffic and full MARTA trains.
So you have decided to start running – that is fantastic! One of the biggest mistakes that a new runner makes is that they go all out…they run as fast and as far as they can and unfortunately they either get burned out quickly and stop or they are forced to stop because they get injured. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and find the joy in running:
- Running with a friend is great but many times a friend will cause you to run at their level and it may not be your level yet. A training plan is a must for a new runner. Whether you hire a coach, a personal trainer or find a plan off the internet – find a plan that works for you and stick with it.
- Don’t try to increase your mileage and speed at the same time. This is a mistake that even veteran runners sometimes make. Pick a day/week to work on either running further (at a pace you are used to) or run a distance you are comfortable with and try to do it in a slight faster time. So many runners try to increase distance and speed simultaneously the end up injured.
- Don’t run every day. Many new runners believe to get better they have to run every day and again, either get burned out or get injured. 2 – 3 days is a good start and as you get acclimated you can gradually increase to 4 -5 days a week. Remember – your body needs rest days and cross training as well.
- Finally, here is a “runner essentials” list of items that are going to make your run not only safer and help you stay injury free but it will make your run more comfortable as well:
- Properly fitted shoes (Don’t just grab your shoes out of the closet or pick up a pair that looks “cool” at the store. Go to a reputable specialty store and be properly fitted for your shoes – trust me, spending a little bit more on the right shoes will save you money and injuries in the long run).
- Non-cotton socks (Dri-wicking socks will save you from blisters…in running the saying is “cotton is rotten”.)
- For women – Sport Bra (Again, like your shoes…spend the extra money and time and get properly fitted for a sports bra – it will make your running experience a much more pleasant one).
- Body Glide – or other anti-chaffing product (put it everywhere you have skin-to-skin contact)
- Foam Roller (This will become your worst enemy and your best friend at the same time. Using a foam roller will significantly reduce or eliminate many common runner injuries and issues.)
I hope that you find these tips useful and they help you find or continue to enjoy the love of running. If you need help getting started running, need a running plan for an upcoming race (5K, 10K, half, full or ultra), need to work on your core strength/runner’s maintenance or you need a great place to cross train come check us out at Bodyrich Fitness Company. We offer a complimentary introductory workout and have great personable, certified trainers that can help you reach your goals and help you stay injury free. Contact us at 678-417-0880 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bodyrich Fitness Company
Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutritionist