Anticipating our trail race, my friend Jessica had some very good questions about what to wear, eat, and basically do prior to, during, and after the race.
Here are a list of questions and answers that I feel a rookie runner will appreciate!
- What should I eat the night before the race? You’ve probably heard of pasta parties the race organization holds the night before-right? Right Katie..”carbo loading” the night before properly will store the needed glycogen (the body’s most accessible energy source) in your muscles and liver, preventing you from “hitting the wall” during the race.
- Okay..then what do I eat before the race? First, never try something new on race-day..this could cause GI distress and the lines are always waaay long for The John… Eat a meal that can be quickly absorbed and digested; peanut butter toast with fruit is a perfect breakfast for an early morning race!
- Where’s the best place to put my bib number? Place your bib number on the front side and only attach it to your top layer of clothing. This is important for 2 reasons;1) if your chip timer is on the bottom of your bib, the person ripping it off at the finish line can do so easily, and 2) if you get hot easily
and glisten a lot, you can take off your top layer without disturbing your bib.
- We’re only on mile 2-it feels like we’ve been running forever! What do you think about? Don’t think of the total miles as a whole; take each mile as an accomplishment towards your goal! For instance, instead of saying “only 7 more miles”, think “3 miles down-bring on the 4th!” Think of different ways to take your mind off of running-play I-spy, sing songs,
make fun of other runnersnotice how other runners are acting-it’s amazing how time will fly :).
- How do I grab the water without it spilling down my arm?
Based on personal experienceTry this technique: hold the arm that you’re grabbing the cup with. Grab it. Let your arm holding the cup lag behind you slightly (instead of bringing it straight to your mouth=soaked arm and water up your nostril(s)). Bend your elbow and bring it to your mouth. Success! Or you could just slow down..
- I see the finish line! How should I stop? As your approaching the finish line, look past where you’ll actually stop and slowly come to a walk. This will prevent blood pooling. HUH? As your running, your heart is pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to large muscle groups (lower body). Once the oxygen and nutrients are used up, the contracting muscles return the blood back to the heart to replenish. However, when you suddenly stop running, so does the force that returns the blood to the heart. Waste products like lactic acid then stay in the muscles, causing swelling and pain. Ease your pace to a slower jog, then to a walk.
- How will I know what place I came in? And can I really take all this free food? Based on your chip time and when you crossed both the start and finish lines, the race organization will post the results after all runners have finished a couple of days preceding the race. And yes..you really can take as much food as you want! The sponsors of the race encourage you to try all of the bars, drinks and goos in hopes that you’ll like it and actually buy it. Be greedy
All runners have their own preferences prior to, during, and preceding the race. Practice makes perfect-the more you participate in races, the more you’ll find what best works for you. Ultimately, all runners have the same goal- to finish and to finish strong!