Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some final tips

Finally, the Big Sur International Marathon is less than a day away.

For all of you who have been diligently training for the race, I hope you are feeling good and ready to tackle the beast. For all you who are planning to wing it, like my husband, well, things could get interesting. Jon’s enthusiasm to run the Big Sur marathon started to wane as his work and travel schedule picked up. His prayers for a mudslide road closure were answered. He was disappointed to learn the race would still go on.

Whether you are a veteran or a first-timer, here a few tips for race day: Pack your bag the night before and check it twice.

Race bib, timing chip, shoes, dry clothes for afterward, these are just a few things you need. You will be getting up at an insanely early hour and will surely be asking yourself what possessed you to do this. Don’t worry if you are half asleep as you make your way to the buses. Once you get to the starting line, the excitement of the race and your own adrenaline will wake you up and you will be raring to go.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

If you have not been drinking a lot this week — and yes, I mean sports drinks and water, not beer and coffee — don’t make up for it on the morning of the race. Guzzling a water bottle or two just before the race will just make you feel terrible. Try to drink

about 8 ounces of water 2 1⁄2-3 hours before the race, then sip on a sports drink or water until the race starts. Take advantage of the aid stops along the course. If you need to stop and walk to make sure you drink and not just spill it all over you, do it. Staying hydrated will save you time in the end.

Your body needs fuel. Eat a normal breakfast and take a bagel or snack to munch on in case you are hungry before the race. After about an hour of hard exercise the body needs more fuel (carbohydrates). If some of your runs have included eating a gel along the way then do it during the race.

Make sure you take it with water to help your body absorb it. If you haven’t tried this before, you probably still need something, but be aware that gels can upset your stomach if you are not used to them. Remind yourself to refuel every hour you are running.

Don’t break out new shoes for race day, you’re risking a blister and miles of agony.

Your feet are going to be a bit beaten up anyway. Also, remember that Vaseline is your friend — use it.

Finally, enjoy the race. It’s one of the most beautiful marathons in the world, so take the time to appreciate the spectacular views. After you cross the finish line and enter marathon village, try and eat something with protein within 30 minutes of your finish. Continue hydrating with a sports drink to help with recovery. And relax — you deserve it.

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