Sunday, June 19, 2011

6 Days left 'til Rock-n-Roll Seattle

Sleep and Food Tips

When an upcoming race is looming closely in the distance it's easy to let nerves turn into irrational decisions about what to do and what not to do the week of the race. After all, you don't want to ruin months of dedicate running, which may have been through pouring rain, on muddy trails, early in the morning, or late at night. You've invested your time, energy, and money into the sport, and it's important you get a positive return on the investment. The cruel thing about making poor choices the week before is simply that you don't have time to recover from mistakes. The unusual thing, the poor decisions are made on things you've been practicing the most (outside of running): sleeping and eating.

Sleep - Remember the first training day labeled, Long Run, and how on the night before you told your friends that you wouldn't be able to stay out late because you had to run in the morning? That decision is a sound decision, you were relaxed, not quite as nervous, and although you may have felt some anxiety coping with how far you were about to run you took it all in stride. This week, apply the same decision to every night. Get into the habit, now, starting today, of going to bed at reasonable time and getting up around the same time that you will on race day morning. This week, you should place an emphasis on getting a good night sleep on Thursday and on Friday.

Food - Nutrition can be one of the most debated topics when it comes down to what to eat the week before, and especially the night before. Every runner is looking for an advantage and people, in general, understand that there are quality foods and foods that are not quite as high in quality. The term 'carb-loading' may be one of the most popular expressions, regarding food, the week prior to a race and everybody has a different opinion on why to do it, how to do it, and when to do it. But, every person has different tastes, different metabolic rates, and different caloric requirements. The best advice on what to eat the week of and the night before the big race, eat the same thing you've eaten during your training. Your body has grown accustom to the type and amount of calories that you've fueled yourself with during your training. Race day is no different. Some helpful tips: finish eating your breakfast between an hour-thirty and two-hours prior to your race start time, avoid things high in acidity and fat, and make sure you're eating enough the morning of the race so that you're not hungry right before the race starts. The night before, sweet potatoes, salads with no dressing, and vegetables are good nutrient rich foods that for most people won't react negatively with nerves the next morning.

The reality is, keeping things consistent with how you've been training will give you the most advatage race day morning, because there is no secret formula. Some people have no problem drinking coffee the morning of a run and others don't do very well drinking coffee two days before a run. Some people can eat eggs, bacon, and pancakes the morning of a run, and others can only eat bland grains. Stay confident in your training, stay focused, and stay consistent.

Yesterday's Post: Psychology of Race Day

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