You've logged the miles, you've done the crostraining, you're a few days away from getting your race bib, BUT, do you have everything covered? I've outlined below a 'proposed' race week itinerary that should have you good to go on race day. Read on!
-Identify your race day wardrobe.
Make sure whatever you choose is something you're comfortable running in. Plan for the weather conditions! Take a look at the extended forecast and plan accordingly! You may want to bring a few different options.
Try to make sure your wardrobe includes the 'Spring 13.1' shirt so I can readily identify you on the course! I will be getting QUALITY glamour shots and possibly video footage on race day! Your 13.1 miles of glory will be immortalized forever!
-Nail down your travel plans.
You want to plan on getting to the race start AT LEAST 30-45 minutes in advance of the actual start. Figure out how you're getting to the start of the half marathon NOW! Don't wait until later this week.
Arriving well in advance of the start of your race will give you time to use the restroom, warmup, and make your way to the start. For those driving in on race morning, allow PLENTY of time! It will likely take time to find parking if you're driving in the morning of the race.
-Review the parking info!
PLEASE REVIEW THE TRANSPORTATION/PARKING INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE LINK BELOW! You cannot park along the course and there are limited spaces left on the shuttles leaving from Santa Barbara to the start of the course in Santa Ynez.
I drove to the start of the race from Santa Barbara last year and it was NOT easy to get there. PLEASE plan accordingly and allow PLENTY of time to get to the race start.
Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Parking/Transportation Info
-Scout the course.
Check out the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon Course Info/Map. Trust me...you are ready for this course. The latter half is cumulative downhill.
-Lube if necessary.
Some of you have complained about blisters on your toes/feet and chafing during the course of our training. Well, there's a handy product out there called 'Body Glide' that you can apply to your feet, thighs, underarms, or any other area where you encounter friction based irritation that will help reduce/eliminate this. It may be time to invest in some. Alternatively, you can use Vaseline, but it can be a bit on the greasy side.
Gentlemen, if you have experienced chafing of the nipples (my apologies if this grosses some of you out), stick a band-aid on both nipples and you should be good to go.
-Schedule a sports massage.
Some of you may have some residual soreness/tightness that has been bothering you these past few weeks. Now is the time to be a bit self-indulgent. In addition, to taking an extra day off and/or cutting a workout short, indulge in a nice sports massage to help knock out those last few kinks. I'd recommend scheduling one for Wednesday or Thursday, ideally.
Once again, PSOAS Massage & Bodywork gives us a standing 10% discount, so take advantage of this great discount and get some work done!
-Nail down race nutrition items.
I introduced you to GUs this season and hopefully you managed to identify the items that work best for you. Remember that you should be consuming one of the aforementioned items approximately every 45-60 minutes during the race to keep yourself performing at a high level.
Water and/or an electrolyte beverage will be provided about every mile or so of the race. Try to coordinate consumption of GUs (or whatever you're using) in conjunction with the water stops. Just a reminder that any product you bring should be washed down with WATER, NOT an electrolyte beverage.
-Skip Accelerate and Run an EASY 3 miles! I normally wouldn't discourage you from doing bootcamp, but given that race day is less than 48 hours away, I would rather you skip Thursday's workout and simply log a few easy miles. I want you fresh and ready on Saturday!
-Get your race bib/packet.
You do need to pick up your race bib/packet in order to participate in the race. You can pick up your bib on Thursday (for an additional fee), Friday (at the race expo), or race morning (for an additional fee). Check out the following link for the lowdown-
Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon Bib Pickup Lowdown..
-Focus on complex carbs.
OK, we're a couple days from the race and now is the time to start making some adjustments to your diet to help insure you're properly fueled for race day. Think whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, whole wheat bagels, organic fruits/vegetables, etc.
Some folks only 'carboload' the day/night before an endurance event, but the reality is that carboloading this late in the game won't give you much bang for the buck. If you start a few days prior, your are insuring that your glycogen stores (primary fuel source) are topped off. This doesn't mean eat carbs EXCLUSIVELY!
But, if your diet normally doesn't include much of the aforementioned, make a conscious effort to include more at this juncture.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, one way you can identify whether or not you are properly hydrated is by looking at the color/quantity of your urine. In short, 'clear' and 'copious' is what you're looking for, respectively. You should start making a conscious effort in making sure this is what you're seeing in the days leading up to the race.
-Get a good night's sleep.
Given the early start time we have on Saturday and some pre-race nerves, it's not unlikely that you may not get a ton of sleep the night before the race. Ultimately, this isn't a big deal and has not proven to have a significant impact on race day performance by and large.
So, don't sweat it too much. BUT, try to make a conscious effort to get a solid night's sleep on THURSDAY. Make it a quiet evening of quality, complex carbs, rest, and relaxation!
-Get your race bib/packet.
Presumably, most of you will be claiming your race bib/packet on Friday at the race expo. Here's the link once more with the details-
Bib Pickup Details.
-Eat dinner early.
Given the early start time on Saturday morning-7:00AM, I'd encourage you to target 5PM or 5:30PM to get your final meal of the day. Again, you probably want to focus on complex carbs for this meal and try to stay away from anything that is spicy or markedly different from anything you would normally eat.
If you have a particularly sensitive stomach, you may want to plan on bringing your own food for this meal.
-Lay out your outfit for race morning.
I'd STRONGLY encourage all of you to lay out all the items you need for race morning on a chair or on the floor next to your bed before you go to bed. This includes your shirt, your hat, shorts, shoes, gels, socks, race bib, etc. Have everything laid out so that when you get up in the morning, you won't have to even think about it, you can just put everything on and you're good to go.
-Set your alarm clock, set your alarm on your cell phone, and request a wake up call from a friend or two (if they're willing).
This three pronged approach virtually GUARANTEES you will be up in the morning on time! You should plan on being near the race start area AT LEAST 30-45 MINUTES PRIOR TO START!
-Get your race bib/packet.
You can claim your race bib/packet on Saturday morning, but be advised there is an additional fee associated with this option-
Saturday Race Bib Pickup Details.
-ARRIVE AT THE START AREA AT LEAST 30-45 MIN. PRIOR TO THE RACE!
I'd STRONGLY encourage all of you to arrive at least 30-45 min. early. This gives you time to warmup, use the bathroom, change clothes, get your race bib (if necessary) and get positioned near the start.
THERE WILL BE NO FORMAL WARMUP PRIOR TO THE RACE. BUT, we will 'informally' congregate in front of Mavericks Saloon located at 3687 Sagunto Street (a few blocks from the start of the race)-
I will be running the half marathon in much the same way that I have all of our long runs with one minor wrinkle. I will be going out fast the first couple miles to 'thin the herd' and then I will wait for the first folks to come through to capture some glamour shots and run a mile with them. I will then stop and wait for the next folks to come through.
I will do my level best to catch all of you on race day, but I need your help! There will be A LOT of people running! If you wear your 'Spring 13.1' shirt, you will be making my job MUCH EASIER!
Look for me in a white Nike hat and a white 'Run Whisperer' shirt. I will be looking for all of you for 'glamour shots' with my camera after mile 2!
OK, so you're probably going to feel pretty amped when the gun goes off, but please HOLD BACK and PACE ACCORDINGLY! You 'should' have a solid handle at this juncture on what you can maintain for 13.1 miles. Focus on running at your comfortable, conversational pace. There will be mile markers along the course.
If you run 10 min. pace, your watch should reflect roughly 10:00 at the one mile mark, 20:00 at the two mile mark, and so one. RESIST the urge to go out fast. If anything run a bit SLOWER the first few miles (10:10-10:15) and EASE into your comfortable, conversational pace. I want to make sure you have something left in the tank those last few miles!
-Take water/sports drink at every opportunity.
Even if you aren't necessarily feeling thirsty, TAKE IT ANYWAY! Some of you may have heard of 'hyponatremia' which is often associated with taking in too much water. Let me emphasize that 'hyponatremia' is MOST PREVALENT in marathons where elapsed time on the road exceeds 4-5 hours. So, this means that there is virtually zero chance of this being an issue for any of you.
-How to handle water stops/stations on race day-
There will be several of these along the course. Typically, there are several tables laid out. DO NOT GO TO THE FIRST TABLE YOU SEE! Let the other runners slow down and bump into each other to get their water and electrolyte drink. Try to go to the LAST TABLE you see at the water station to avoid slowing down or possibly stumbling. Certainly you can walk through the water stations if you like.
-How to drink water and/or electrolyte drink on the run-
When you get your cup of water or electrolyte drink, pinch the top of the cup closed and fold one of the corners over so you effectively have a small, narrow 'spout'. Pour carefully into your mouth. If you don't want to walk through water stops/stations, this is the best way I know of to drink while running.
-Take a GU every 45-60 minutes.
Make sure you get some simple carbohydrates (GUs or some other form of simple carbs) in your system every 45-60 min. This will help you continue to perform at a high level. Make sure to wash any nutrition product down with WATER not an electrolyte drink.
-Be mentally tough!
You've done the work. You've endured the long runs. You've tapered. You know how to fuel/hydrate properly. Remind yourself of all the hard work and preparation you've done those last few miles when you might be feeling a bit tired. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! YOU ARE READY FOR GLORY!
-Expedite race recovery.
As quickly as possible, get a quality combination of carbohydrates/protein in your system (remember 4 carbs: 1 protein is OPTIMAL for recovery. Chocolate Milk has this ratio.) I'd also encourage you to walk around for a few minutes to help increase circulation and help flush the lactic acid out of your system. If you have a stick or foam roller handy, spend some quality time with it!