Let’s all hyperventilate together since The Genworth Virginia 10 Mmiler, 4 Miler and 4-Mile Walk are almost here! There’s a lot to think about before race day beyond physical training… like the basics, food and water before and during the race. I recently had the good fortune to hang out with some of the members of the Lynchburg Road Runners Club and I learned some great late stage training tips and found out that one of the runners has a steel drum for a stomach. My adventure with the running group began on Labor Day where I actually ran the 4 miler course and here are some observations and tips I picked up along the way!
I’m Slower Than Everyone Else! Not that I’m surprised at this! I will give myself the excuse that they’re a running club. However, I do regret not joining the Safe Strides training group at the YMCA. I met some of the runners from this group and they were really good. I found out that the coaches actually create plans for each level of runner from novice to regular for the 4 and 10 miler. Plus, they make them train on hills, which I should have been doing!! Good thing to remember for next year.
I’ve Gotta Pace Myself Better! Running and talking with the group was fun until I couldn’t keep up. Then I was pushing myself and then I got a massive stitch in my side. Safe Strides coach Jan Baker told me that stitches are usually caused by one of two things, not breathing well or if your tummy is too full. I’m thinking I was out of breath. We did talk about keeping yourself fueled before and during a race and a misnomer when it comes to training for a race:
- You should carb load for a race. There’s no need to carb load for the 4 miler, however it might not hurt to consider it for the 10 miler, especially if you’re running for 90 minutes or more. Then you should be adding a few more carbs in your diet starting 3 days prior to the race. So don’t be downing a huge plate of pasta before the big race unless of course you’re used to downing a huge plate of pasta before a race. You don’t want the runs while you run! Also, the extra food causes extra water weight too through digestion. One of the runners I spoke to talked about his race day regimen and eating Cheesy Westerns right before a race. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a burger with an egg and cheese on top! It’s a staple from the Texas Inn (T Room) in the Hill City. It’s the ultimate greasy spoon kind of meal! This man obviously has an iron stomach. If you can eat this on a regular basis, more power to you! Personally I just had a power bar before the practice race and felt fine.
- Race Day Meal. Don’t try anything new for breakfast on race day and don’t go too heavy on the protein, fat or fiber. If you do, your stomach will be mad since your body needs more blood to digest and running diverts that blood to other parts of your body.
- Hydration on a cellular level. Getting your H2O going is important! Jan says you need to start hydrating 2-3 days before the race. It helps to prepare the cells in your muscles…so scientific, eh? Right before the race, it’s best to drink about 16 ounces of water, 1 hour prior to the start. If you drink too much, don’t worry, there are potty stops along the race route.
- Practice Makes Perfect! Yes, you actually need to practice your hydration technique in advance and I don’t mean with Margaritas!! I have a handy, dandy water bottle with a hand strap I carry. If you have a butt pack with water bottles you need to train with it now so you can get used to using it on the run! If you’re going to hit the water/Gatorade stations along the route, you need to call out your desire before you get to the table. Apparently, it is ok to be a litter bug and toss your cup on the ground! There are volunteers to clean up after you.
Tapering Off Your Training! Now that we’ve talked about fueling your body now we can talk about the actual training…and guess what?! It gets easier from here! Jan mentioned that we should be cutting back on the mileage of our runs. So if you’re doing the 10 miler you probably want your last long run to happen during the early part of the week of Sept. 14th. After this point, shorter maintenance runs at around 2-6 miles. In the 2-3 days before the race, stay away from high intensity training and just some light running/cross training to keep you loose. However, if you haven’t been training on the actual race course, it’s a good time to start if you can. Plus, another tip, try to run in the morning too so your body gets used to that race time!
It’s Not as Hard as It Looks! I know, these are probably famous last words but the 10/4 miler course is not as hard as it looks! Even though there is a mile going uphill, I DID IT! I admit, there was some walking in there but I did it and I actually enjoyed it too! The neighborhoods are beautiful along the route!
If you would like to enjoy the scenery along with me, you can sign up for the 10 miler or 4 Miler Run/Walk by clicking here.
Emily Robinson is an ABC 13 talk show host, award winning producer, health nut,
sci-fi nerd, pop culture fan, life-long student, California girl, wife, mommy
and a potential athlete that needs a lot of training.