Here we are, the week of your Flying Pig event!
Now that your training is over, there are 3 things you can do to get prepared for a great run on Sunday.
1. Keep all of your thoughts positive!
Too much stress the week of a marathon (half or relay) will take its toll on your physical capabilities and performance on Sunday. This week is all about positive thoughts – there’s nothing else you can do to prepare, other than some short, easy runs, laying out your running gear, and the 2 other keys below. Just remember, YOU ARE PREPARED and you WILL DO WELL on Sunday. The most important thing at this point is to absorb as much joy from this experience as possible. Go to the expo, watch some of the events on Saturday, get into the spirit of the Marathon weekend. This is a special time.
2. Create Your Race Plan
Mentally plan out how you’re going to run on Sunday. Take caution in starting too aggressively (which is likely to biggest reason for a slower than anticipated time). It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the event...or have your competitive juices kick in when the gun goes off...or even to just forget to check your pace with each mile marker.
You’re going to be jacked up with the crowd and festivities. So again, RELAX.
Plan your race out in segments and make sure you have plenty of gas in the tank for the home stretch. Check your times at each mile. For example, if your goal is to finish the marathon in 4 hours (or half in 2 hours), you should be averaging about 9:09 per mile. If you have a Garmin the tracks your pace, you’re all set. If you do not, other options include running with a pace group, or plotting out what your ideal time should be at each mile marker.
(You can go to http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm to plug in your ideal completion time and find your per mile pace).
Also, you might consider having two goals, if a finishing time is important to you. An “I’m happy with this time” goal and an “I’m totally thrilled with this time” goal. As an example, I'm running the half on Sunday. My best half time to date is 1:44:50. I'll be happy if I hit that again, but thrilled if I get close to 1:40:00.
3. It’s Time to EAT!
Starting on Wednesday, the goals is to maximize glycogen storage in muscle, which means you need to eat more complex carbohydrates than you normally do.
Remember, all carbs are not created equal. Some supply energy very quickly (with very quick corresponding “crashes” in blood sugar) while others provide a slow, steady stream of energy. Carbohydrates are classified by numbers between 1 and 100, called the glycemic index (GI).
Complex whole grain carbs are generally lower on the GI and filter into your system more slowly. Foods that are low on the GI list tend to keep your blood glucose stable and give you a steady supply of energy, allowing you to maintain longer runs for longer periods of time. Wednesday through Saturday you want a lot of low GI foods – whole grain bread, pasta, rice, cereal and beans.
And you'll want to make sure you're drinking lots of water with those carbs. The idea is to store extra glycogen in your muslces, and that requires plenty of water.
Saturday afternoon/evening, you can transition away from the pastas to more of the simple carbs. Hey, you want a few cookies or other sugary foods? The night before a long run event is the time to do it!
Just be cautious on Saturday, if you've suffered Runners Gut or other digestive problems on long runs, avoid dairy (lactose), fiber and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and beans; they contain raffinose, a gas-inducing compound.
A simple carbohydrate is high on the GI and dumps into your blood stream very quickly. This is what you want to consume during the Flying Pig, especially if you're doing the full marathon. And whatever strategy you’ve been using for pumping sugar into your system, stay with that system. Gels, sport drinks, or whatever, don’t mess around with changing your approach on race day - whatever you used during your long runs will work for you on Sunday.
Remember, you are creating an experience that you will remember vividly for the rest of your life. Go out on Sunday, enjoy this incredible milestone, and soak up as much of this experience as possible!!
I look forward to seeing you at the Pig - Get Your Oink On!!
Your friend in fitness,