6 ways to stay injury-free in marathon

6 Ways to Stay Injury-Free In Marathon Training

Welcome to FRIDAY! I am really excited for this weekend. I am competing at the Lululemon Track & Roll and spending some time with Toronto friends as well as putting in another solid long run, this time WITHOUT chocolate pudding!

This week has been my highest mileage week before the marathon and I am HURTING. Some of the key workouts this week were a blistering interval session with 2 KM repeats to prep for my time trail on Monday with some wicked strength training, a 75 minute tempo bike session followed by a 10 KM interval session with 1 KM repeats and I have a 30 KM long run preceded by a one hour hard cycle this evening. [If you are interested in following my training, you can find me on Strava]. At this point, I am forgetting what it feels like to not have something hurting somewhere – when I laugh, my abs are sore, I cannot bound down the stairs two at a time and my feet look like gremlins.

The thing is, this is a key week. I am building strength and muscle for my hard efforts on marathon day. Will it hurt? YES. Will it hurt less because of the work I’m putting in now? Absolutely.

Putting in intensity and high mileage can be risky if you don’t do it correctly, especially for an injury prone runner like me. I thought I would share some tips and tricks on what is keeping me injury-free through this training cycle.
1. Running with People – Believe it or not, this helps me keep my mileage lower. If I were to train alone, I would push myself too far. This week, I cut a 12 KM trail run to 8 KM because I was running with a group and Wednesday night, I felt silly doing laps alone on the track when my team was through even though I was reaching a specific mileage. I communicate my training goals with friends and they are amazing at helping me to reach my goals.

10475224_777967372234622_5734765646919001423_n
2. I added in a rest day. I hate to rest. Even on the beach, I will lie on my towel for one second and I pop right back up to go throw a football or go swimming or sun myself vertically.

Vertical Sunning...like a meercat.

Vertical Sunning…like a meercat.

Adding a complete rest day has helped recharge me for my hard weekly workouts and given me time to get into a few good books.
3. I’ve slept. This is and always will be a tricky one for me. I am a very social person with The Fear Of Missing Out (what if something exciting happens when I am sleeping?!) but I have been focused and mindful on getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night and up to 9 if possible. This is probably the biggest one in my books.
4. I have eaten and hydrated well. I have been working with my naturopath over this training cycle and for the first time ever, she is thrilled with me. I take my supplements and my fridge is a scramble of spinach, probiotics and beet juice. I have cut out my afternoon coffee and I eat 6 times a day. Throughout this process, I have not cut out any of my favourite foods but just added in more good stuff (so you could occasionally see me eating a breakfast of sprouted toast with coconut oil……and nutella).
5. I have switched up intensity. Every week, I do two hard interval sessions, one trail run, 2 easy runs and one long run with built in tempo efforts. It allows me to strengthen as a runner but also recover on easier trail days.
6. I switch up surfaces that I run on. I had mentioned that I run pavement, gravel and trail an almost equal amount during the week, but this also applies to shoes. I will run any type of shoe and rotate through with everything from minimalist to mid cushion to maximalist. Over the last couple weeks, I have added a new pair into my rotation that I have never tried before from Topo Athletic. Because of the huge variance in terrain that I cover, I chose the Trail//MT , a hybrid shoe that is described as ” super-light, versatile, performing well on and off road with the traction and protection of trail runner paired with the weight and flexibility of a road shoe.” As a Prius driver, I am all about hybrids so I was thrilled with this one.

W_MT-Grey_Teal-top-944x720
I dealt directly with the company and there was a bit of a mix-up with the delivery and I was unsure of how it was going to work out. The customer service was a dream: super responsive and had everything sorted within 24 hours. It is the most roomy fit of all of the Topo shoes and it is stylin’ enough that I would wear it to the grocery store. I took it on three test runs – one was on the streets of down town Toronto, one on the trails and one on the gravel road that I train on near my house. Each and every time, the shoe felt amazing, but considering I am not exclusively a minimalist runner, I did not run longer than 15 KM while wearing the shoes, just to ease into them.

10517637_1443880619216022_8646998307297588640_o
The shoes retail for $100 and I would order them again – they are good looking, light and I love the versatility. Topo stands behind a mandate of developing products for athletes, by athletes. If nothing else, I love this company for their mission statement.

choice_2_0
A quick look at their staff page shows they are all athletes and it was refreshing to do some back and forthing with someone who GETS it and was genuinely interested in my sport and training. In her words, “The shoes won’t make you better – YOU make you better. We are just here to help.”

What are your tips for remaining injury-free in high volume training?
What was the latest pair of shoes added to your collection?

 

Boo-2

Book Review – Health Food Junkies by Steven Bratman

Alright friends, we are finally back to regular blogging schedule! On Wednesday, I try and touch on something nutrition related and this week, we are chatting about my book review for March. For those of you who are new readers, one of my goals for 2014 is to read a book relating to the blog every month.

It ties in quite well with the theme I had two weeks ago with National Eating Disorder Awareness week. As I was headed out to Florida, I had a co-worker who knew I was doing the series tell me to read Health Food Junkies by Steven Bratman and he put the book on my desk before I flew out.

This is not a new book (published in 2000), but the topic of orthorexia nervosa remains controversial because you cannot argue that it is a GOOD thing to eat healthy food. However, Bratman argues that it can go to far and you can get stuck in a place where eating healthy is all consuming.

He challenges the reader with questions such as:
“Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?”
“Have you found that as the quality of your diet has increased, the quality of your life has correspondingly diminished?”
“Do you keep getting stricter with yourself?”
“Do you feel a guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?”

7e75f9933c3391f7e0d916a54adb8b84

It was an easy read; Bratman begins explaining what orthorexia is and launches into The Healing Diets, looking at all the biggest dietary trends from Food Allergies, Raw Foodism, Macrobiotics, The Zone, Candida Cleanses, Eating for your Blood Type and Supplements. I found he was extremely compassionate and realistic. He was mindful of the fact that some people need to eat this way to be healthy, but that was not who he was addressing. It was the people who made it an all-consuming part of their life and relied on the way they eat for their sense of self-esteem and fulfillment.

He does touch on how to recover from Orthorexia Nervosa and thankfully, it is much easier than anorexia or bulimia. In a lot of cases, he suggests slowly loosening up your diet and incorporating the ability to have cheat foods. I am adding my own words here, but finding the balance in the 80/20 rule (eating healthy 80% of the time and allowing yourself to be more relaxed about the other 20%).

One of my favourite quotes from the book is: It is better to eat pizza with friends than sprouts alone.

bluemountain_firehall

I highly recommend this book to anyone who would associate themselves as a healthy eater. I am not saying that healthy eaters have orthorexia, but I think it is wise to be self-aware of things like this and keep checking in to ensure that you are choosing your food and your food is not ruling you.

Thoughts on Orthorexia Nervosa? 
Have you read the book? 

fat

An Ode to Fat

It’s time to have a little chat about something that the average runner does not like to think about during their off-season and is fled from by most in general.

Fat. 

Fat has gotten a terrible rap  historically. Even worse that the knocking that carbs have gotten over the last couple of years. I am not going to launch into an impassioned rant as to why, but I thought I would expose fat for the superhero of anti-inflammation and energy that it is.

Historically (here we go..), low or no fat diets have been synonymous with losing weight and being healthy. This phobia is untrue when looked at from the macro picture. I am not saying all fat is good, but the bottom line is, like most things, that too much and too little is dangerous and it is a balancing act between the good fats and avoiding the bad.

Here’s a hook for you – a healthy brain is made up of over 60 percent fat. Many brain problems, including Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented with fats. Fat also is central to controlling inflammation, which is the first stage of most chronic illnesses.

Launching now into my full ode to fat, here are just a few other reasons why fat is an amazing thing to have in your diet.

Energy – Fat not only products long term energy, but prevents excessive dependancy upon short term energy needs from sugar, providing twice as much potential energy as carbs.

Hormones – The hormonal system is responsible for controlling many healthy functions in our brain, muscles, metabolism and more. the hormones produced in various glands are dependant on fat.

Insulation – This is the achilles heel for many people, but hear me out. If you have a healthy amount of fat on your body, it keeps you warm when it is cold, keeps you hydrated when it is hot (fat can prevent as much as 10 – 20 x more water from leaving the body) and allows athletes to compete in both environments.

Healthy skin and hair – Fat has protective qualities that give the skin the soft, smooth and unwrinkled appearance that most people try and emulate from super expensive products. The heath looks of skin comes from the fat inside – the same is true for hair.

Digestion – Bile from the gall bladder is triggered by fat in the diet, which helps with digestion and absorption of important fats and fat-soluble vitamins.

Support and Protection – Not only does fat act as a built in shock absorber  and support for vital organs, but it provides protection for the body against harmful X-rays.

And that is only the beginning.

Unfortunately, the best way to get this fat is NOT from fried chicken and french fries. Some of the best dietary sources of fat are:

  • coconut oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • avocados
  • almonds
  • macadamia nuts
  • salmon
  • eggs

Ways to include these healthy fats are eggs cooked in olive oil in the morning, a salad made with  oil and vinegar dressing topped with avocado for lunch, nuts for a snack and salmon for dinner. It is easy to work in and you will be the most unwrinkled and energetic person I know if you kibosh the idea that fat is bad.

What is your favourite way to get dietary fat?

More reading:

5 Healthy Fats to Include in your Diet.

A Guide to Choosing Healthy Fats.

Eating Healthy Fats. 

IMG_1166-1024x536

Dealing with Hunger after a Long Run

It seems to defy all science, but most runners who complete a long distance run or complete an endurance race such as a marathon are not hungry after the run. 

There was a particularly bad scenario in 2010, when I raced a 30 KM in Toronto. I finished, checked my time and curled into the car for a 2 hour ride home. I wasn’t hungry so I ate nothing.

Little 2010 me - not a smart runner to say the least...

Little 2010 me – not a smart runner to say the least…

By the time that I got home, I was sore, tired, fatigued and ravenous.

I ate an abnormally large meal and went to bed. In the morning, I was much sorer and achey then I should have been.

Why should I eat after a long run?

We have been told countless times to listen to our body and to eat when we are hungry. What happens when we have burned through our stores and we are not feeling hungry?

Eat anyways!

This is the one time that you have a free pass to eat regardless of hunger cues. Your appetite is suppressed from your run, but if it is left too long, your hunger will surge and you will want to eat, however, at the same time, your satiety cues which control feelings of fullness decrease.

Not eating after working hard decreases recovery and preparation for your next workout, which will suffer as a result.

IMG_1168

Why do I not feel hungry after a long run?

Science.

When you run, peptide YY is produced (the hormone that tells you that you are NOT hungry) because you are busily banging out the miles and your body cannot be bothered. This means that your hunger hormone, ghrelin, is suppressed for a few hours after exertion. This does NOT mean that you shouldn’t eat.

What should I eat post-run?

I find the best thing to have post run is a protein shake or drink made with water or almond milk. oct7_NCN4

The best protein powders are plant based, and for my palate – CHOCOLATE.

Liquid allows the nutrition to be easily absorbed and also is easier to consume when you are just not feeling like eating.

A number of hours after your long run, fuel up on healthy carbs and protein. This could be a main meal – chose healthy foods that you enjoy and celebrate your post-long run bliss! One of my favourite post-run foods is the Protein Pancake. 

Resources for post run nutrition:

Long Run Recovery Done Right – Runners World

Three Steps to Long Run Recovery – Active

What to Eat Before and After Long Runs – Runners Connect

Do you struggle with lack of hunger post long run?

What is your favourite way to refuel after a race?

fourhourbodysupplies-quest-bar

Putting the Quest Nutrition Bar to the Test

The one downside about having a commute for work is that I am in my car a lot of the time. Inevitably, I am driving to see friends, going to late work events or teaching a class and I didn’t prepare enough food. I have tried quite a few things from just buying it as I go, packing super sized lunches and storing food in my car like a little squirrel.

I have found the latter option works best and I have a steady rotation of food bars in my back seat that further prove to passengers that I live in my car. The problem is, I try hard to be mindful of my sugar consumption and a lot of bars have a LOT of sugar.

A number of weeks ago, I announced that the Quest Bar bandwagon had been jumped upon.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 7.49.36 AM

A lot of my friends have been raving about them and even have been giving me samples along the way. I waited a while because they are not cheap, but here is why they have earned the primary role of sustaining me when I am too rushed to find food.

They have a lot of fibre, protein and few carbs. The bars that I picked up, the chocolate chip cookie dough, have the following nutritional stats:

Absolutely rocking nutritionally and they taste fantastic. Not as sweet as other bars but they have a great texture and are great when you are in a pinch.

photo

Quest didn’t send me these, I paid full price for them because I want to make sure that I stay as healthy, lean and fit during my running off season as possible. It is easy to fall into bad habits in post-race recovery because your body is replenishing stores and is needing increased energy intake.

A few of my other go-to snacks are apples with almond butter, nuts and of course, a latte!

What are your favourite snacks to eat when you are on the road?

If you have tried Quest Bars, what is your favourite flavour?

CEP_Sock-line

CEP Compression Winner and an Off-Season Begins!

This past weekend, I completed my final race of the season.

I have never said that sentence with absolute certainty before, but after a year of solid training, racing and physical gains, I know it is time to take a rest before tackling another huge year or racing.

2014 is the biggest athletic year for me so far and I want it to be AWESOME.

I thought it would be good to take a peek at why people take off-seasons and what the advantages and disadvantages are to an athlete.

For me, an off-season is as integral to training as going on a run. If your body is constantly forced to perform, it will not be able to consistently produce quality races and will eventually begin losing speed, distance and ability.

It is a chance to re-evalute why you race, how you did on the races over the past year and what your goals are for the upcoming season. It gives you a chance to spend time with family, friends and stroke things off your to-do list.

marathon4

Cannot wait to spend a few more hours with these crazies.

It gives you a chance to strength train and cross train with other aerobic activities such as swimming, biking, team sports and exercise classes such as bootcamps and yoga. I have a yoga pass, a rock climbing pass, a ski hill pass, a gym membership and a pass to the local pool. I am using the next month to strengthen and use muscles that are not used regularly in running and to give my legs a much deserved rest.

Over this time, it is a chance to tinker with nutrition and add new foods to your diet. While I am training, I stay pretty consistent because I do not want to shock my system. I will be using a few dietary principles from Dr. Philip Maffetone over the next month or two to ensure that I am feeling healthy, strong and can perform at my maximum potential.

But what happens if you don’t take an off-season? An advantage of this is that you do not have as concentrated of a race season, which allows your body to race throughout the year. This allows you to participate in races that most people who take an off season in November – December and June – July normally are not able to race.

It also allows you to consistently maintain a baseline of aerobic fitness and not need to worry about rebuilding it when the new training season hits.

I for one, am looking forward to taking a rest. I LOVE racing, I LOVE running and I LOVE training, but I am excited to try new sports, activities and switch up my schedule a bit to be mentally, physically and emotionally ready to pick up (almost) where I left off in 2014.

Do you take an off-season ? Why or why not?

Now, on to the WINNER CEP Canada Compression sock giveaway! 

I had a race in Michigan this weekend – a 30 mile duathlon and I wore my CEP Compression socks for the race where I was top female finisher, for recovery and the following day when I was mountain biking on the trails. I received so many complements on the colour and style – I highly suggest rocking as colourful a pair as you dare!

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 7.47.43 AM

WINNER: AUDREY from Mimidawk blog!

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 7.43.32 AM

Audrey, please send your contact information to lacesandlattes@gmail.com and I will connect you to CEP Canada. 

IMG_1168

Protein Pancakes

I really don’t know how protein has done it but it has somehow remained the only unsullied macronutrient on the market. Fat was kiboshed decades ago and the rise of the Atkins diet has left carbs as the enemy.

Protein is the invisible middle child of sorts that has escaped the crosshairs of nutritional skeptics (although maybe it is next), but I find it strange as it is the macronutrient that we arguably need the least of.

This has been a horrible launch into a recipe with protein as the motivating factor, but the good news of protein is that even though you don’t need loads of it, it fills you up, provides post workout repair and also helps endurance athletes absorb high training loads.

I am about to hit my off season, so my training has been less, which means my intake overall is decreasing. Nevertheless, according to the Protein Calculator from the Medical System at the University of Maryland, my protein intake is 84 grams, even when I am not training hard!

So when I return from my morning swim, absolutely ravenous, I need a protein packed breakfast. Enter my new favourite fix:

Jessica’s Protein Pancake

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 scoop of your favourite protein powder
  • half a mashed banana

IMG_1166

Mash up the banana with a fork, add the eggs and stir in the protein powder. Pour into pan heated at medium. Top with your favourite fruits and nut butters (I used bananas and almond butter…and was just a bitttt heavy handed on the maple syrup).

IMG_1168

Enjoy!

What is your favourite breakfast right now?

More info on the project to be seen on my upcoming post for A\J. Don't worry, I will be sharing!!

Why Running Helps if You Dine at Eigensinn Farm

One of the best things about being an athlete is the appetite that is attached to it.

It merits texts from friends along the lines of “I need to know if you are planning on camping this weekend so I can make sure we have enough food.”

Or like this weekend after completing a 100 km road ride with a friend, she appears over the railing, tosses me a banana and asks me to eat it so I don’t eat my arm on the way home.

You know…normal stuff.

It can be hard to tame an appetite that is always on high gear, but every once in a while, life throws you an opportunity to do so with class. (I.E. NOT eating a peanut butter sandwich over the sink).

Like last week – I was never ever more grateful to be a runner than I was last Tuesday night.

It all began on Monday afternoon when our editor asked me to cover a story because everyone else in the office was tied up. Of course, I obliged because he is my boss and before I knew it, I was headed to Eigensinn Farm, owned by internationally renowned chef,, Michael Stadlander.

Stadtlander has been ranked among the top 10 chefs in the world and is a leader in the locavore, farm-to-table movement.

Michael had invited members of the local media out to cover the opening of his Camp Home Project.

More info on the project to be seen on my upcoming post for A\J. Don't worry, I will be sharing!!

More info on the project to be seen on my upcoming post for A\J. Don’t worry, I will be sharing!!

Instead of focusing on the Project, which I will be covering later, let’s talk the food, shall we?

Basically, I want Michael Stadtlander to move into my kitchen. (No offence, mom).

He began the meal with a tray of appetizers:

apps

Only about half of the offerings. He also had a plate of wood fired pizza with goat cheese…

We were then seated at the table and served our first course. Manicotti and wild mushrooms.

manicottitable

The second course was a fish steak with a corn and tomato salsa.

fish

I am not going to lie, the third course was a tad difficult as it was Tripe soup (or the cartilage and stomach of a fish.) Once again, my appetite saved the day and I had it down it a flash, thanks to the delicious caviar toast. tripeFourth course was chicken liver dish. The presentation of the food reflected Michael as he is both an artist and a chef. All the platings were just pure works of art.

chicken

Fifth course was the most luxurious palate cleanser I had ever seen. A crazy wooden support with an ice block filled with and surrounded with wild flowers. It was topped with a perfect scoop of wild raspberry sorbet. I die.

palateIt was at this point where a dinner guest looked at me with pained eyes and said that they thought they couldn’t eat another bite. I was beyond grateful for my wild appetite because this was placed in front of me a few moments later…

DSCN2154We then were served a cheese plate of fresh, Ontario cheese, organic peaches and biscotti that Stadtlander’s wife made.

cheeseDuring all of this, Stadtlander sat with us and entertained us with stories of the past 20 years on his farm, his journey to becoming a chef and dreams for the future. Dessert was served on Napoleanic era dishes with a hazelnut and apple delight.

dessertAnd the best coffee I have ever tasted.

DSCN2159We finished up with the cutest little dessert nibbles and took a walk around his property to see his sculptures.

DSCN2160

And of course I ate everything, why do you ask?

Now, if you excuse me, I have gotten hungry writing this post.

What is your best dining experience? This one was by FAR one of mine and I would place it in the top five experiences of LIFE.

IMG_2857

Photo with the chef.

the race

Half Marathon: The Endurrun – Stage 1

the raceOk. So we have looked at what to expect while preparing for a half marathon, but what happens the morning of the race when your alarm goes off and it is GO TIME?

I have decided to frame the discussion around a race that I did last weekend, Stage 1 of the Endurrun. Although large races have their place, there is such an overwhelming charm to a race that holds the pre-event meeting at the director’s house and the post-race food includes homemade vegan scalped sweet potatoes and bread made from scratch. The races that I ferret out are smaller, as unique as possible and allow you to find your race pace without tripping over those around you.

The first thing that I do is EAT. You want to have a good meal at least 2 hours before the start line. I made a huge mistake this past weekend and had a paltry amount for breakfast which resulted in me CRASHING at 16 km and losing my hard-earned pace. Don’t do what I do. Some of the best foods to eat the morning of are Simply bars for their great combo of protein and carbs, a bagel with peanut butter or any other more processed carb with protein for easy digestion. Again – don’t try anything new. Stick to foods that you have run with before. Foods I try to avoid are anything high in fibre (don’t make me explain this), fat, dairy or anything else that will cause discomfort for your digestive system. I like to take it down with a Vega preworkout energizer, or as I like to call it, rocket fuel.

Literally all the energy with out the crash.

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 10.30.43 PM

 

Posted this picture on my Instagram, just before heading to the race. Wavy mirror selfie. Keeping it classy at 6 am.

I collect my things and head to the race with a good extra hour for a small race and more for a larger race. This gives me time to find my corral, warm up, and find a spot for my things. It is also nice to have a calm morning to keep you in the right mental space.

start

When the gun goes off, I tend to just let my body take over and use the energy of the crowd to push me along. I am often tempted to go out too quickly. My advice is to have a pace in mind to help you reach your goal and to not go past it. You do not want to burn out too quickly.

Focus on proper form and make sure you drink at every water station. Most races will give out gels as well and I try to have one at the half way point, and I certainly needed it this weekend!

half

If you hit a wall, which is basically your body saying it doesn’t want to run anymore, you can either turn in your chip and duck out, but because you are a runner, you most likely won’t. What I did was focus on the fact that my legs were still fresh and it was just my nutrition levels and kept pushing on, sucking down gatorade when I reached aid stations and trying to be as efficient as possible.

What causes a runner to “hit the wall?” Basically, your liver and muscles are depleted of glycogen stores and you are hit with a sudden lack of energy and fatigue. This normally occurs in longer races, but I didn’t eat much the morning of, had not been carb loading and did not taper for the race as I was supposed to be using it as a training run. Psh…like that would ever happen.

I was hoping for a sub 1:30, but with a combination of my poor nutrition choices in the morning and the unexpectedly hilly course, I ended up finishing just so sub-1:40…

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 9.51.16 PM

 I rushed to the aid station and grabbed gatorade and ate some freshly baked bread that was waiting for racers at the finish line. I then went through my post-race routine (but more on that on Friday..) In the mean time, this is a fabulous article I found on race nutrition.

What can go wrong during a race? So we already looked at crashing, bonking, dying or whatever you want to call it and starting too quickly. A few other things are not hydrating enough – make sure you drink water at every rest station or carry a pack, belt or bottle with you to sip often.

DSC_0646

PAIN. Sometimes there will be an injury flare up or an unexpected pain. Pay attention to it and try to monitor if it is just muscle fatigue or soreness or if it is a severe injury. My rule of thumb is that if it is severely altering my gait and the pain is unbearable, I duck out of the race. It is never worth being off training for month due to an injury.

What is the worst thing that happened to you in a race? How did you deal with it?

prerace

Pre Race Preparation for a Half Marathon

prerace

 

 

A half marathon is one of the most popular distances in the running community. 21.1 km is long enough to get into a running groove and feel a proper distance, but also short enough to be a good foray into the world of distance running and know that within a couple hours or less, it will all be over.

This week, I am going to take a look at the best ways to prepare for, run and recover from a half marathon.

Preparation is something that is vital to the success of a half marathon, and everyone has their own routine for prepping themselves mentally and physically. A few things that I have found to be helpful are:

Following a varied training program: Just getting out the door and running is only a piece of it. Playing with intervals, tempo, fartlek training and long, distance runs are important to your comfort level and success on race day. One thing that sometimes gets neglected but is vital, depending on the course, is hill training!

Train Smart: Think quality over quantity. Aim for strong and varied runs. Cross train and add plyometrics, yoga, swimming, cycling and any other sport that either strengthens or stretches muscles used for running.

Research the race: It is always helpful to have an understanding of the race atmosphere and a mental image of the race course. Arriving at a race and expecting a small, intimate, flat course and finding it to be a commercial, large, hilly course is bound to throw you off track.

Rest: This applies throughout your training program, especially the week before the race as you start to taper. If you are feeling the onset of an injury, shin splints or you are slogging through your runs, consider taking a couple extra days off. Signs of overtraining are lack of appetite despite an intense training schedule, insomnia and an increased resting heart rate (to name a few). Be aware of your energy levels and remember that time off is just as important to your running performance as pavement pounding.

A week or so before the race, begin tapering or decreasing your training intensity and try to stay off of your feet as much as possible the day before the race. Don’t wander too much around the expo, despite the temptation, and wear running shoes. If you are feeling anxious, go on an easy 5-8 km run to loosen up and keep your legs fresh.

Prepare your gear: The night before your run, lay out all the gear, GUs, watches, iPods, shoes, etc so that in the morning, all you need to do it wake up, hydrate and GO!

toad

Prep for Run for the Toad 50 KM a couple of years ago. I would NOT recommend this many gels and bars for a half marathon. P.s. GU Roctane is literally rocket fuel….

44909_10150286108620704_524150703_15043990_4127901_n

Nutrition: Eat plenty of healthy carbs the day before such as rice and whole wheat pasta and try to avoid eating anything new. The goal is to have a happy digestive system the day of the race, so stick to the basics. The night before my half marathon this weekend, I had a dinner with a lean protein, plenty of vegetables and a couple slices of sprouted ezekial bread…it was just the morning of that I missed the memo and got it all wrong! (More on Wednesday…)

Trim your toe nails. Self explanatory and it will save you from losing toenails. If all else fails, Essie makes a fabulous black nail polish that I keep in my gym bag…just in case.

Plan to wake up early. There is NOTHING worse arriving to a race and feeling rushed. Take your time. I like to get up early, make a pot of coffee and sit and have devotions with a steaming cup and have a leisurely breakfast before heading out the door. Everyone has a different pre-race routine, but give yourself plenty of time to get through yours.

What am I missing? 

What half marathon have you run or are you running this year?

See you on Wednesday for a race recap and explanation of what to do race day.