From Start to Finish
Lately, I have been fading at the end of my races, and couldn’t figure out why. I thought that it was mental, but I began to realize that I have not been using proper fuel during my races (any distance over a 5k).
There is so much emphasis on race nutrition and hydration that runners neglect the importance of fuel. Exactly what is fuel? It’s the gels, jelly beans, Nuun tablets, energy bars or sports drinks that provide energy during long races. How do I know when I need fuel? If you are running for 30 minutes or less then you only need to drink water. Should your race last for more than 30 minutes, then you need fuel. How often should I take fuel? Well, fuel intake varies depending on each runner, but to start, you should take a small amount of fuel every 30 minutes (about every 3 miles for me). You should also make it a practice to take a sip of water at each water station. Remember, the water and fuel you drink and eat early are to sustain you later in the race.
Running in Texas weather is different each day. When it comes to dressing for races you should follow “what to wear guides.” Runner’s World has the following suggestions on how to dress:
60+ degrees: tank top and shorts 50–59 degrees: short sleeve tech shirt and shorts 40–49 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves (optional), headband to cover ears (optional) 30–39 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, and headband to cover ears 20–29 degrees: two shirts layered—a long sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt or long sleeve shirt and jacket—tights, gloves, and headband or hat to cover ears 10–19 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, and windbreaker jacket/pants.
Now, it’s up to you what shoe you wear. Maybe you are like me and wear a different training shoe than the pair you choose to wear on race day. I wear the HokaOneOne Napali’s for training, and for the first time the Brooks Hyperion for race days. I use compression socks to decrease muscle vibration caused by impact, and a visor to help with the sun (plus my head doesn’t fit in most running hats. Does that mean I have a big head?)
Whatever you decide to wear, remember every run has a purpose, and so does every outfit. So, pick an outfit that makes you feel and look great.
On race day or even the night before your race, you will naturally feel “Eustress” that good stress and anxiety that motivates you to do your best. The best way to relieve eustress is to smile. Smiling relaxes the body, and that relaxation allows you to run faster. Every race has something special to offer so don’t just focus on that “PR” enjoy the journey, laugh at the posters and high five that little kid that’s cheering everyone to the finish line.
These are my top 3 things that I believe will take you from the starting line to the finish line. I look forward to seeing you on the pavement; I’ll be the one smiling and singing.
Next stop, The BMW Dallas Marathon.