Thursday, August 15, 2013

Virtual Running Date No. 21: Tips

Hello Crushers!

I am back in town near a computer for just a day before I head out to go camping for another long weekend. Have to get in the vacation time before school starts, right? FYI - Up North was amazing as ever, but my camera never made it out of my backpack. I was too busy having fun!

I'm going to use today's virtual running date to answer some newbie 5K running questions. My friend Hannah, previously mentioned here and here, is going to be running her first 5K on August 24, and I'm running with her. She recently asked me a few questions about running, and I probably overloaded her with answers. Whoops!

Here is a recap of a recent e-mail exchange:

Please note that I am not a professional trainer, medical professional or exercise guru. These are just things that I have found helpful over the course of my running experience. If you would like to start running, please consult your doctor or health professional to make sure you are in a healthy place to start a new exercise regimen.
Hannah: How much running or resting should I do the week prior to the race?  Obviously I want to be ready, but not push myself too much right?

Me: It all depends on how much you're currently running. For instance, if you run 3-4 times a week and you go about 2-3 miles each, then you're fine. You can "rest" on Friday if you'd like or do a shorter run (no more than 2 miles). Since this isn't a marathon or anything, there is no reason to eat a carb-loaded meal the night before. It won't do you any extra good.

Hannah: Also, any good recommendations of what to eat / not eat for breakfast prior to the race?

Me: It all depends on what you normally eat for breakfast and if it makes you have to go to the bathroom or not. I know that's kind of a gross answer, but there is nothing worse than having to go #2 in the middle of a run when you're far from a bathroom. Running faster only makes it worse! My go-to breakfast on race days are protein and a banana. A scrambled egg and a half (one whole egg and one egg white) and a banana or a banana and a big scoop of peanut butter usually works well for me. Bananas are a great source of energy because they have a lot of fruit sugars and fiber.

Here's another pre-race tip:
Unless you KNOW FOR SURE that they have bathrooms near the start line, DO NOT drink too much water pre-race. You want to drink enough water with breakfast to feel that your thirst is quenched, but don't over do it because the combo of a lot of water and nerves = pre-race sprint to the bathroom. That always freaks me out because then I feel like I wasted pre-race time waiting for my turn to use it than warming up and just hanging out at the start.

RACE tips:
There will be water stops. Depending on what you usually drink while running and how hot it is that day, feel free to skip a water stop or walk through it and chug one down.

Unless you are going to finish the race in a blaze of glory, there is NO REASON to start at the front. Seriously, I usually just look around me at 5Ks and think, "hey, that person looks like my fitness level" and then I stand BEHIND that person. I could have just under estimated that woman, and I don't want to get plowed over. You can always move up, but it pisses off really fast runners if you start too far up. If I ever get you to run a half marathon, you line up with your pace time.

I am going to run with you, so no worries on pace. If you are running to finish, that's great. If you're running to set a fast time, that's great. If you feel like mile 2 sucks and you need to walk a little because you ran mile 1 too fast, that's a learning moment and it's great to walk too (just walk on the side of the route so you're not in anyone's way).

I hope that you find these tips helpful on a virtual running date or a regular one!

Note: When I get back from camping, I'll have some fun over-the-fire recipes to share.

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