Race Readiness

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I have spent the last 5 weeks training for the Decker’s Creek Half Marathon this Saturday in Morgantown, West Virginia.  This will be my third half, and it’s the first time that I have followed any sort of training plan

I’m anxious to see what (if any) effect the plan has on my race.  That being said, I’m really trying hard not to psych myself out or think about the race too much.  I did that with my 10K in early April, and I was seriously disappointed

In the interest of not putting too much pressure on myself, I’m not going to expect a PR, but I would like to match my current PR, which is 1:59.  Anything under 2 hours–even if it’s 1:59:59!), will make me happy.

In preparing for this race, I also came across a great article on Active.com about Race Day Prep.  It had some great advice, so I thought I’d share with you this morning my takeaways and the things I’m doing to get ready for my race.

Enjoy the Taper

This is one of the hardest things for me.  Because I had trouble with my knees for so long, they tend to bother me most when I take time off, but not at all if I keep up my conditioning.  That being said, I know my body needs a little rest before race day so that I can be fresh and ready to go. 

My training plan indicated a 14 mile run last weekend.  I didn’t do it.  After talking with a friend who is a certified running coach, she recommended doing my 14 miler 2 weeks before the race and a 10 mile run a week before.  While this taper makes me a little nervous, I haven’t had any pain throughout my training, so I feel like my body is conditioned and ready to go.

Today, I complete my last training run–an easy 4 miles.  Tomorrow, I will probably just spend some time stretching, maybe with a little yoga. 

Carb Load

I’m a bad student in this category, too.  A 3 day carb-load is recommended, assuming that your body will be able to “void” the complex carbs before the race.  I, however, am lucky enough to have a “special” constitution (<—insert sarcasm here), that allows my body to hang onto things longer than most.  In other words?  Carbs take a long time to move through my system.  Hence, the lack of pasta recipes you’ll see me make.  As they say, I love pasta, but it doesn’t love me.

To get carbs without having them sit like a rock in my stomach, I stick to fruit, just in larger quantities.  For instance, last night after dinner I had half a pint of blueberries, half a pint of strawberries, and a banana all cut up into a fruit salad.  I’ve also been eating lots of muffins, and including some kind of bread component to most of my meals, like a pita with my salad at lunch, or a bagel with my yummy breakfast for dinner last night!



Now in this, I get an A for sure!  All week long, I have been guzzling 4, yes 4, of these babies each day.

They hold 32 ounces each.  I’m in the bathroom every 5 minutes, but at least I know I’m hydrated! 

Since I am actually still thirsty, I know I’m not overhydrating, either.  I’ll be sure to drink about half of one of these a couple hours before the race, too, just to make sure I’m good to go. 

Dress for Success

To me, this is KEY to racing success.  I always check the forecast well in advance so I know what kind of conditions I’ll be running in.  A good rule of thumb is to dress for 20* warmer than it will be at the start of the race because your body is going to heat up–fast! 

Since it’s going to be warm and humid this Saturday morning, I’m planning on wearing close-fitting clothes designed to wick away moisture, that will breathe easily in the heat. 

Since my new shoes have been working out well for me the last week, I’m going to go ahead and wear them, too, but if you have a newer pair that’s iffy, I’d avoid them in favor of tried and true trainers that you know will be comfortable. 

Music Motivation

For me, music is a requirement when I run, so I make sure my iPod is juiced up and ready to go with a rockin’ playlist before race day.  I try to vary my song selection, so there aren’t any repeats or songs I’m tired of because I’ve had them on my training playlist too long.  I also include songs that I know will pump me up, like The Black Eyed Peas’ Pump It and Kanye West’s Stronger.  It’s a long haul out there–might as well make sure I’ve got something to motivate me in case I need a little boost along the way!

And that’s about it!  I’m sure there will be other things that pop up along the way, so I’ll be sure to share them as they come to me! 

What are your best race readiness tips?


14 thoughts on “Race Readiness

  1. Totally agree on dressing for success. I overdressed for my 10K race last weekend and was burning up by the last mile. Another great tip I learned over the weekend is to bring a few sheets of your own toilet paper–can’t always count on the Port-a-potties being stocked!

  2. You are going to kick butt Melissa! I’ve found that not stressing about the race & staying positive is the key to success. I try really hard not to think about how difficult it’s going to be & just think about how much fun I’m going to have & how happy I’ll feel when I cross the finish line. Running is such a mental sport… keep telling yourself you’re strong & fast!

    • Thanks, Sara! It is so mental–what I really need to tell myself is to be brave and push my pace! I know I can run faster, but I keep a slower pace because I get scared. Stupid! I need to just do it!

  3. Ha. I drink about that much water each day too. And I’m in the bathroom every 0.5 seconds. But I’m always good and hydrated! You are just the cutest thing, I hope you KILL the half this weekend!!! I’ll be rootin for ya down in Houston!

  4. Besides putting my playlist together and picking out the cutest outfit possible that makes me look the skinniest, I try to make sure I eat an early dinner the night before. If I eat it too late, I feel sluggish in the morning and bad things can happen during the race if you know what I mean. 🙂

    • Hey Scott! I like them a lot–Adidas are pretty much the only shoes I run in just because I prefer the fit, but they’re harder to find in stores. These are the Marathon 10’s. They’re really lightweight and have great ventilation, but they are pretty good on shock absorption, too. If you don’t like an overly supportive shoe (I tend to think some go a little over the top), I’d definitely recommend these!

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