Wednesday, 30 October 2013

How to prepare for a marathon: The week before

The week leading up to a marathon is a mixed bag of emotions. It's the week for you to get all your affairs in order. Oh, by this I don't actually mean go out and get an up-to-date will (hopefully you won't be needing to do that, that is), but I mean make sure you are fully prepared - mentally, physically, and any other way you can be.

That's right folks, preparation!
Here are few pieces of advice to help you get through that week and to prepare for the all-consuming marathon:

1. Get your gear sorted:
Know what you are going to be wearing, make sure it's clean, ironed, pressed, groomed, whatever it is you need to do for your gear, DO IT!

If I am travelling for a race I always take two of everything, just in case. Two sports bras, two pairs of socks, two tops, two bottoms - usually one for cooler weather and one for warmer weather. If it is going to be warm I'll wear shorts, if it is cooler I'll wear tights. Boom!

2. Have all your fuel sorted: 
The old 'never try anything new on race day' is molto importante when it comes to fuel. You want to know that what you are taking/using won't upset your tummy or make you feel terrible. And make sure you know how you are going to carry your fuel or where people will be along the course to dish out the gels/gummy bears/bananas or whatever it is you use.

3. Know exactly what time you need to be at the start line (the absolute latest you would want to be arriving), and therefore what time you will be needing to get up and leave the house/accommodation. Plan in things like needing to use the loo before you begin, warm ups, getting in the right pace group/corral. The last thing you want is to be missing the starting gun!

4. Know what you will eat the morning of the run and have it all readily accessible.

My race on Sunday starts at 6.10am so I'll practically be getting up in the freakin middle of the night! This means I will lay out all my breakfast things the night before and any drinks I will want to be having. Make sure you hydrate well the night before and morning before the race, particularly if it is going to be hot weather.

5. Carbo loading in the week leading up to the event:
This is many an athlete's favourite part of the training, the eating! It is definitely one of the perks of being a runner for me! But don't go crazy. Carbo loading does not mean you need to eat 5 bowls of pasta, 3 whole garlic breads, 10 donuts and 5 litres of powerade a day. NO! You do not want to get to the start line feeling heavy and sluggish!
It just means that you need to make sure you are getting in a good amount of carbs in your bigger meals (breaky, lunch and dinner) to stock up on your glycogen stores - about 25% more carbs than usual (my awesome friend told me that one today). Save the binge feed for after the marathon when you well and truly deserve to eat whatever the heck you like!

6. Be on your mental game. Prepare mentally:
The last 2-4 months (or however long you trained for) was the physical prep, now this week is for the mental prep. You have done all the hard work, put in the hours, the sweat, the tears, and maybe even some blood, and a few injuries to boot. So now is the time to get your head in the game. If you are anything like me, in the week(s) leading up to the marathon your head is a minefield. All the doubt starts creeping in and you are planning for a worst-case-scenario. DON'T DO THIS!

You know you can do it, you know you have trained well. I am all about the self-talk. I know it sounds lame and nerdy but it seriously helps! I will quote scriptures to myself, remind myself I am awesome have trained the best I could and that I am strong, fit and a good runner. I am a firm believer in this quote, as I have posted many times before:

Thought I'd throw this one in there too, for good measure
 And last but not least, here are two reminders for you (and me):

My all time favourite!

My marathon goal right thur!
 Anyone else racing this weekend?

Any good tips for the week before a big race? 

Favourite quote, verse or mantra that you repeat over and over? 

Go here to check out an article I wrote called '10 reasons why people run marathons' for a bit of humour.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Beaten by a door and free race entry to giveaway...

Last weekend I had a relaxed 22kms planned. My running buddy lives just around the road from me (so convenient) and we always meet at the same time and same place for our long runs. I am always the one that gets there a minute or two late - although I always say I am just allowing her some warm up/stretch time because I am such a kind and thoughtful friend.

This Saturday, however, I was more than a couple of minutes late. Just as I was about to get changed and head out the door I had a weeeee accident...

Door 1, Rachel 0
Yip, I walked into the door. Blonde much? And not actually just the door, but the corner of the door. And yip, it hurt! It makes me shudder to think about it now. It was so hard and crazy sore! The stupidest thing ever, I was laughing and crying at the same time because of how much it hurt and how silly it was.

Anyway, moving along now...

Once I got on the road I managed to forget about the throbbing pain in my head, right in behind my eye, and actually enjoyed the run. I ended up running for 22kms and walking the last 2km home.

I am so excited to be on the downhill to the marathon now. Less than two weeks to go and I am feeling great. All the hard work has been done, now I am just on cruise/taper mode til the big day. I have been thinking about the goals I want to set for race day but have not completely decided on them yet so there will be a post about those coming very soon.

On another note, I also did a whole bunch of baking this weekend for some random people in my hood. It was great fun and I really enjoyed being back on the baking wagon for a few hours.

Some of the treats I whipped up
I am so excited about my upcoming marathon that I decided to go ahead and register for another race... Only two weeks after the marathon. Yikes! I certainly have 'the bug'. I am still a little nervous as to whether I will be able to (or should) run a half marathon so soon after a marathon but I think I will be fine and worst case scenario would mean I walk for a bit (or a lot). No biggie.

So I registered for this half marathon and I also have a free entry to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog, or here on my facebook page letting me know that you have entered the race and you will be in the draw to win the cost of your ticket back. That is a bonus and $49-$67 that can go towards my Christmas present. Thanks, you are too kind :)

Entries for the half close 10th November, and early bird entries (cheaper price) close 27th Oct - this coming Sunday. Get in quick people, it is an AWESOME race.

Anyone else ever been beaten up by a door, some stairs, a wall or the like? 

Anyone else racing soon? Running a full or half marathon?

Any bakers out there? Do you bake for yourself or to give away as treats?  

Monday, 14 October 2013

Taper Time Tips

I recently read this incredibly true article from Runners World about pre race anxiety and tapering.

On Saturday I ran my longest distance for my training plan, 35kms. I had an awesome friend who lent me her Garmin for the run, which I just LOVED!

It actually was 35kms, I just had forgotten to un-pause the watch after a toilet stop... Oops!
The exciting thing about doing your longest run in your training is that once it is done it means it is time for the taper. For non runners (or runners who haven't cottoned on to the lingo yet) the taper is the couple of weeks before the marathon where your running distances get less and less. The purpose of the taper, as mentioned in the above article is:
The value of scaling back—muscle fibers heal, extra glycogen (or fuel) is stored, the immune system rebounds.
It's generally 2-3 weeks leading up to the marathon where you want to slowly be decreasing mileage. So over the next 3 weeks I will still be doing my 3 key runs, just shorter distances. Yay!

Although taper time can be exciting, what else can tend to happen during taper time, as also mentioned in the article, is as follows:
Ask runners what the most challenging part of training is, and many will say the taper. Indeed, anxiety, panic, and crankiness often come along with decreased mileage leading up to a race. Olympic Marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson called it "PMS: Pre-Marathon Syndrome."  When you've grown accustomed to pushing hard and enjoying the endorphin buzz that follows, tapering can make you feel like an addict going through withdrawal.
Too true! I think it's hilarious how it is called "PMS" - this is spot on! I find the taper time exciting as it means I have done all the hard work and now I am on the downhill slope to my final goal, however I also find it hard. Since I have just done almost 4 months of training I am feeling at my fittest, my best. So to scale down the running when I am finally feeling like I am just sooo ready for this is tough! It is something that I have to tell myself often is 'for the best for my body and mind'. So please excuse me if I am a little PMS-ish over the next 3 weeks, I am tapering!

The things I often tend to do during my taper are all the things this article tells you not to:
Don't: Unleash the crazy on others - GUILTY (Sorry Tim!)
Don't: Spend your downtime fixating on one ambitious, stress-inducing goal - GUILTY
Don't: Eat, breathe, sleep running - GUILTY
Don't: Binge on carbs - OK, so I'm not too guilty of this one but the temptation is always there!
If you tend to be like me and go a bit cray cray during taper time, read this article to find out how to fix these don'ts.

 Do you go a bit cray cray during taper time? 

Do you enjoy tapering? 

Are you guilty of any of these things?

Friday, 4 October 2013

The ultimate motivation, running catch ups and fuelling like a BOSS...

A few of you may have already seen this clip already but if you haven't, you NEED to check it out. Here is the ultimate motivational clip:

The last couple of weeks have been great for training. My speed sessions are getting better and better, I am feeling a lot fitter and am running my repeats at a faster speed, which I LOVE!

I have been quite slack with my cross training lately but have been running 4 times a week. It is hard to fit all the things in that I would like to with having a baby but I am really happy with everything that I am managing all the same. I have even been doing my core and some leg workouts in the evenings in front of the TV.

With it being Spring now I have also loved getting out on the road every chance I get to run in this beautiful weather. I have been taking Fletch for a few more buggy runs again now that it is warming up too. He loves it, I love it, we all win. I really love spring, it is such a beautiful season and it brings all the promises of summer ahead... YAY!

Last Saturday I did a 32km run and it was gorgeous but soooo HOT! I took it nice and slow but finished feeling good. I think it was because I fueled like a BOSS the night before that got me through it. My pizza and wine that I had the night before at my girls' dinner really did the trick... Perhaps i had better work on my nutrition if I want to be a better runner... Eek! (Please excuse my terrible phone photography):

This is a metre long pizza with three different toppings - my happy place!

Love running along the water front on a beautiful sunny day
 This is my next bit of fuel for tomorrow's long run... I know, I take this carb loading thing to a whole new level!
I'm going to need a REALLY big cup of tea to dunk this bad boy!
Although I am sure I will have a bite or two of this delicious morsel, I must add that I actually bought this for my hubs. The chunks in it are actually pineapple lumps which are his fave. And it was only $3... I still can't believe it. It would have been plain wrong to NOT have bought it.

Tomorrow I have a shorter long run planned of about 25ish kms (give or take - I am a bit more relaxed about this one as we will be away). The following week will be my last long run of about 34kms and then it is TAPER TIME!! Woah, the countdown really is on now! Less than a month to go!

P.S. If you are new to running (or not but still like a good read) then Amanda over at The Lady Okie Blog is doing a series called 'How to Start Running'. She has some awesome tips, advice and fun stories and I feature in her latest post, part two. Follow the link above and go check it out! YEOW!!

How do you fuel for your long runs?

Favourite cookie?
Mine would have to be a good old home made choc chunk and oat cookie
Favourite season to run?
Mine is def Spring as summer can just get a wee bit too hot
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