Twas the night before Race Day, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, along with the pile of GU, your shorts, shirt, shoes, glide, nip guards, sports bra, and whatever else you deem necessary to complete 26.2 miles on foot.
Many runners have very precise pre-race procedures and superstitions they follow before every race they run. I am no exception to this rule. I make sure and set out all of my clothing, including anything I might need, such as a jacket. My race bib, shorts, shirt, sports bra, socks, shoes, race belt, handheld water bottle, stuffed with almond butter (aka low carb gu), Garmin, salt tabs, and camera are all piled up on my kitchen table.
The second thing that I do is tape my feet. As one of the unfortunate blister prone runners, I take every precaution to prevent blisters rather than trying to deal with during the race. I’ve tried a various lubricant, powders, socks, and tapes. The thing that works the best for me is Kinesio tape such as Rocktape or KT tape. I tape it across my forefoot where I get blisters and zap! No blisters for the race.
Many runners carbo load before races. There is research that supports carbo loading. Why carbo load? The human body can hold approximately 2000 calories of glycogen in its muscles. Once you burn through that your body has to resort to burning fat, which it doesn’t do well, so you eventually hit “the wall,” bonk, crash, or whatever you want to call it. Pre-race carbo loading can improve your overall time and push back the fatigue by about 20%. To carbo load you increase your carbohydrate intake by 50-75% three days before the race. Be careful not to eat too much fiber or you will have gastrointestinal issues.
To prevent hitting the wall once your glycogen stores do become diminished runners consume carbohydrates while they run. Many runners use a combination of sports drinks, GU, Hammer Gel, or another sports gel or gummies. Your body can only digest about 230 calories of carbs an hour and these conveniently come in 100 calorie packets. How much you need to take in per hour of running depends upon your body weight and speed and is something you should experiment with during training. At 130 pounds and 8:15 minutes per mile, I used two GU’s an hour to maintain that pace.
Now, as a low carbohydrate runner, I don’t carbo load or ingest carbohydrates at all while I run. I drink water, take electrolyte tablets, and snack on almond butter mixed with espresso beans and salt.
Sleep the night before a race can be challenging if you are nervous or excited about the race. I try to focus on sleep the night before, the night before. I go to bed early and sleep as late as I can and then whatever happens the night before the race happens, but at least I know I got good sleep the day before.
Happy Race Day to all, and to all a good night!