Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Marathon Strategy Part 1: Getting to the Start

Months of training are behind me and now all that remains is getting myself successfully to the start line by using the next few days to prepare for the crazy thing I'm about to do.

There is an overwhelming amount of advice and strategy out there regarding what to do in the week leading up to a race. I'm trying to just keep it simple and not stray too far from my usual behavior, which is what has gotten me to this point.

1. Don't get sick or hurt.

Airborne is my best friend. I think it's 90% psychological, but I take one chewable a day and have been doing so for a week. I've become one of those crazy hand washing people. Also, if you're sick I'm terribly sorry but I'm not interested in hanging out with you this week.

After hearing all manner of horror stories from my MTT coaches about the calamities that have met past runners, I kind of want to live in a protective bubble this week. These included a girl who thought it would be fun to try to go down an escalator backwards and ended up breaking her ankle and a woman who was cooking and dropped a heavy mixing bowl on her foot, breaking it. Both incidents happened during taper week. Needless to say, I'm trying to be extra cautious... and staying away from escalators.

Finally, I am being a good girl and following the taper plan to the T. No extra miles and no cross training. This isn't proving to be too difficult for me, as I am completely exhausted for no apparent reason. I thought  I was supposed to be bouncing off the walls with excess energy this week, but I'm having the opposite problem and just want to sleep, which is slightly worrying.

2. Hydrate like a boss.

My Camel Bak is my best friend this week and I'm completely refraining from alcohol, though not giving up my coffee.

It's unfortunate that the result of my hydrating is 5485420 trips to the bathroom, which is upstairs at work. I'm probably ruining my legs going up and down the stairs 5485420 times a day!

3. Rest up.

Coach Ed told us all that it's pretty likely that we won't sleep very much the night before the marathon, so it's a good idea to try to get good sleep the rest of the week. Since I've been inexplicably exhausted, this hasn't been much of a problem for me thus far.

4. Beginning 72 hours out, focus on carbs and protein.

I've plotted out my carb loading, which is something that I very strangely have not been looking forward to. Marathon training has had the opposite effect on my diet from most people, I think. Instead of eating more carbs than before, I have been eating less, for the most part. The prospect of making 70% of my food intake simple carbs for 72 hours is daunting.

My plan is pretty simple: pasta, pasta, steak & baked potato, and more pasta. I've also stocked up runner-friendly snacks like hard boiled eggs and almonds.

5. Minimize stress.

I'm picking up my bib number and race packet on Thursday on the first day of the expo.

I took off from work on Friday so I can spend the day resting and fueling properly.

Finally, months ago I booked a hotel room just 3 blocks from the race start. My dirty little secret is that I don't live in Richmond proper, but 45 minutes away. Race day arrival is always one of the most stressful parts of any race, so I wanted to eliminate that stress completely. Hence the hotel room. For me, race day arrival will consist of rolling out of bed, getting dressed, and hanging out in the warmth of my hotel room before meeting up with Team Navy and walking to the start.

6. Don't forget anything.

As a Planny McPlannerston, lists have also been something that I love. Naturally, I am making a packing list of everything that I need for the morning of the race, the race itself, for the bag that Husband will be responsible for having at the finish, and for the first hours post-race (which will be spent in Richmond).

Is it weird that I have an entire bag of food packed for the less-than-24-hours I'll be in the hotel?

7. Don't freak out.

Any advice on how to not do this?

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