Archive of Blogs
Hydration and Running Article Posted on Edmonton Sun's Keeping Fit with Cary Castanga Blog
Updated on April 5, 2012
Read it here: http://blogs.canoe.ca/keepingfit/general/hydration-heed-your-bodys-thirst-cues/
10 Prerace Rules to Live By
Updated on April 5, 2012
1. Do not do anything new. Do not eat anything new. Do not wear anything new. Do not DO anything new.
2. In light of the above rule: practice, practice, practice. Make sure you eat the same breakfast you are going to eat on race day at the same time you will be eating it in relation to the race (i.e.. two hours before start instead of 7am since race times change). Wear the exact same thing you plan to wear on race day in the same combination. You would be amazed at what shorts do not go with what tops. And make sure to try out a variety of different options since weather can change on a dime.
3. Focus on carbohydrates in the 72 hours before race start and do not get hungry or thirsty. Carry a snack and a water bottle with you everywhere. It takes water to stock up on carbs but if you overdo it you will end up feeling bloat and heavy. The absolute key is moderation. Always stoking the fire with water and fuel without dumping a huge log on it that it will not be able to burn through before gun time.
4. Lay off the spice, fat and excessive protein and fiber the day before a race. They will come back for you.
5. Get organized the day before as early as possible, do your prerace workout and keep it light (the point of it is to invigorate you - not to fatigue you) but do not skip it or you will end up feeling sluggish at the start line. Then rest, hydrate and eat reasonably.
6. Taking a warm bath and stretching is a great idea to wind down before bed. Just make sure to stretch comfortably and make the main focus relaxation.
7. Race morning, get to the start early (and since you prepared yesterday, stress free). Warmup a little, do some dynamic stretches (do not do static stretches as they will take the tension out of the muscle and increase your odds of injury due to prerace jitters) and stay warm until race start.
8. For IN race nutrition, make sure you have tried a proven stately in both your long runs and a faster run. Do not rely on aid stations unless you want to gamble on your race. Most people do well on 100-200 cals/hr... but make sure to take in fuel every 30 minutes... if you wait one hour you will likely have sugar crashed already.
9. Pace yourself and start off easier than you think you need to be going - but steady. You can speed up later. Remind yourself that as you see the foolish tearing off. You will pass them soon enough.
10. After the race, do a light jog or walk to loosen back up, eat and drink within 30 minutes a do some light static stretching.
Updated on April 26, 2012
Running is hard work. It can wear you down physically, mentally and emotionally before you've even hit the first mile marker. Although runners have differing motivations for racing and many prefer to stay social and enjoy the event rather than push themselves to their absolute physical and mental limits, employing some sport psychology derived tactics can help every runner out there at some point, socialite or warrior alike.
- Recognize that anxiety is a good thing. It's what makes racing worth doing. It's what makes living worth doing. in fact, I don't believe that the body really doesn't know the difference between excitement and anxiety. Imagine winning the lottery... what just happened and describe what happened to you physically... OK now do the same with thinking about a major life altering exam situation. See? But don't let it get the best of you. While having anxiety is good, the ability to reign it in is critical. Practice meditation if this is a problem for you and learn to breathe deeply and calmly. Worrying is a waste of energy and good sense.
- Greet each challenge as a challenge. You stub your toe, the porta-potty line is around the block and there are only 3, you forgot your chip, whatever. It's not what happens, you can't do anything about that at the time, it's how you react. On the same note, don't catastrophize the situation. You are still going home to the same life, the same job, the same everything if you don't make your goals for the day. Unless your making a living at this, this should be fun!
- Pick a point and run there. No, not the finish line. Just make a deal with yourself to make it to the next water station, light post, trash can, tree, intersection or porta-potty. Breaking your race into smaller, more manageable goals not only helps keep you from feeing overwhelmed, it also helps you get over those short lived low points, or slumps, that might otherwise take you out.
- I love imagery. In fact, it's what I spend most my running hours thinking about. A tow rope around my hips effortlessly floating me forward, a commanding tailwind, floating over the ground with it whooshing underneath my light quick feet, the steady easy spins of train wheels moving straight forward on a track, Haile Gebreselasie running. Different images mean different things to people so be creative and find ones that are powerful for you. Just make sure they promote speed, efficiency and relaxation... ploddy 3 legged donkey pulling an apple cart, probably not so good.
- Know thy friends. I like to know who is racing me and how fast they run. I pick the steadiest, most experienced runner, whom I would like to finish near, and let them do the work. If I am lucky, I have a whole pack and we work like a flock of birds. Not only do we push each other and keep each other's pace in check, but we also support one another albeit it silently most times.
- That being said, run your own race. Try not to get caught up in what other people are doing. You have only one race, yours.
- Create a mantra. Use words, like images, that really evoke something within you and make you feel strong, powerful and at ease. The simpler the better. I use ones like, "Flow" early on, "Stay tough" in the middle, and "Dig deep" near the end.
- Sometimes it helps to change pace. I don't mean slow down either. On flat courses you end up exhausting the same muscle groups. So letting your stride out a bit or picking up the pace can really help kick your energy system up another gear and get other muscles to help share the load.
- Remember why you run. It's an easy thing to forget when you are suffering. Remember that you can run. There are a lot of people out there who cannot run at all. They wish they were you. Suffering and all.
- A game of catch. This is usually the best idea in the last few miles where passing people (and staying ahead) makes good sense. Be warned though that you will look like a dork if you employ this one off the start line and everyone passes you back by the next turn. Nevertheless, it gives you the push you need to pump a few rival outs and a few seconds or maybe even minutes off a PB if you use sink this dagger at the right moment.
- You think you can. Find a way to suppress negative thoughts. They are like ants, once they start creeping in, they can do a lot of damage and they are pesky to get rid of. Using a positive affirmation like, "I can do anything for twenty more minutes" or, "I can do this" can turn things around for you. You can only think of one thing at once... so choose a positive sentence. You can also try breathing in the positive and out the negative, focusing on how good you will feel at the finish line when you hit your PB, even laughing at yourself for hurting... of course it hurts... "You're running a marathon dummy!"
- Enjoy it. Even if you don't want to. Enjoy the fact that you are human and alive and in the position where you can feel pain and discomfort and it will go away when you stop running. Adversity makes life so much sweeter. On that note, always ask yourself what you want, to push through the physical discomfort now or the physiological pain that comes with failure. I know which one hurts more for me.
You are still going to have bad races. Races where try as you may, everything goes wrong. Unless you are injured and doing damage, I recommend running it out. If you train yourself to walk every time things aren't going your way, you will want to every time you hit that inevitable low point. Running is so much about overcoming adversity and staying tough... so I always chalk up those races to good toughness training. As anyone who knows me knows, I had an accident that really wrecked havoc on my body. I have a long line of DNFs and DNSs - and I also have some very slow times. It becomes a conscious debate every time I race, "Is this race fortifying my mind or breaking down my body?" It is not an easy question to answer and it has been years of me working on being more in tune with my body to where I can confidentially answer this in a race situation. But if you can, push through and know that if you can push through a bad race mentally, you can push through the best of races no problem. Even if you got chicked by an eighty year old, pushing a stroller.