Tuesday, August 13, 2013


You are trained and ready, but if you've never run a race before, you probably have lots of questions and plenty of nervousness about the big day.  Here are a few things to help you on race day.

Get up early - It's better to be too early than too late on race day. 

Eat breakfast - Whatever works best for you to eat before your long runs is what you should eat.  You've experimented with your options during training, now go with what you know is best. 

Hydrate - make sure you drink water and/or sports drink the morning of the race.  Don't overdo it, but get some liquid in you.  Again, the amount you normally drink before a long run, is what you should go with.

Check the weather/temperature - While you checked the night before, you know that weather in the Pacific Northwest is quite often unpredictable.  You may need to grab a jacket or shed some layers.  Either way, make sure you're ready.

Make sure your clothing is comfortable - If that pesky tag is annoying you now, it may become all you can think about while you run. Take care of any wardrobe issues before you leave.  And, take the opportunity to apply your anti-chafing product to those trouble spots, even if you think you don't need it. 

Grab your supplies - That includes your race bib and safety pins if you picked them up the day before.  Since you got everything ready to go the night before, you should be able to just grab and go.  

Leave early - Make sure you have plenty of time to get to the race location.  Account for traffic, parking, etc.  If you need to pick up your race packet on the morning of the race, allow for time to stand in line for packet pick-up.

Use the restroom - Go before you leave home and go again once you're at the race location.  If you're like me, nerves may make you need to go several times before the race starts.  Leave yourself plenty of time to wait in line, as everyone else will be doing the same thing.  While there are usually port-a-potties along the route, you really don't want to have to stop mid-race.  (But, if it's necessary, it is certainly OK to stop!)

Prepare your body to run -  If you have a usual pre-run warm-up, do it!  If not, focus on moving all of your joints in every direction to prepare all of your muscles to run.  Running involves your entire body, so prepare everything, not just the legs.

Run your own race - Mentally prepare yourself for how you are going to run this race.  Don't let others change your plan.  This is your race.  You trained for it, now go get it done!  Enjoy the run.


You've been training for months.  You've run the distance, now you're anticipating the big day.  The day before race day is still part of your training.  It is important not to forget that you've got a big run ahead of you, so your body needs to stay prepared. 

The day before. . . . .

Continue to hydrate - Drink plenty of water the day before your race, as well as the entire week leading up to race day.  Just because you aren't running as much, doesn't mean your body doesn't need fluids.

Fuel properly - What you eat the day before your race does matter!  Continue to eat regular, healthy meals. Skipping meals or downing junk food is not an option.  Your body needs proper fuel, especially if you are running a longer race.  You don't necessarily need to carb load the night before a race - current research is moving away from this concept - but eat a well-balanced meal that your body is used to.  My favorite pre-race meal is spaghetti with meat sauce and salad.  The protein, carbs, and veggies work great for my body when running long.  Figure out what works best for you and stick with it.

No late-day caffeine - If your body is sensitive to caffeine, don't have that late afternoon cup of coffee.  The last thing you want is to miss out on much needed sleep on this all-important night.

Charge your electronics - Do you need your iPod or MP3 player for your run?  Charge it!  Losing your music half-way through a long run can be a real distraction.  Avoid that pitfall by making sure you've got sufficient power.  Do you wear a heart rate monitor or GPS device to help you run the correct pace and/or track your mileage?  Make sure it's on the charger before you go to bed. 

Check the forecast - If you know what elements you'll be facing, you can choose the proper running clothes and gear.

Get your clothing and gear out and ready - Once you know what you're going to wear, get it out.  You may even want to try everything on to make sure it's comfortable.  Last minute wardrobe changes can eat up your valuable morning prep time.  And, while you're at it, get out anything you plan to bring with you; like gels, snacks, water, anti-chafing product, chapstick, gum, money, etc.  Most importantly, make sure you have a pocket or somewhere to put your car key or whatever you need with you on the run. 

Check the race website and/or informational email - Double check to make sure you know what time the race starts and where it is.  If you haven't been there before, map it out in advance so you know how much time you'll need.  Getting lost on the way to a race is definitely no way to start your day. 

Set your alarm -  Need I say more

Go to bed at a decent hour - Get a good 8 hours of sleep if at all possible.  Your body will thank you in the morning and throughout the race.

You are ready.  Don't forget to enjoy the run!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


As you continue training for your upcoming race, there are a few more things to pay attention to.  As I mentioned in Part I, I want you to avoid mistakes that can throw you for a loop on or before the big day.

Rest is NOT a 4-Letter Word
Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in your training to the point that you forget to rest and recover.  Don't allow yourself to get so concerned about your mileage that you begin to over-train.  Over-training can lead to injury, fatigue, irritability, and illness.  When you train hard, your body needs time to recover.  Recovery allows your muscles to rebuild, your body to refuel, and your mind to relax as well.  Schedule at least one recovery day every week, otherwise you may be forced to take time off due to injury or illness. 

Running is NOT a Balanced Exercise Program
Don't get me wrong, running is a great form of exercise.  I wouldn't leave it out of my training regimen.  But, running is not all-inclusive.  You are working the same muscles in the same way repetitively.  Your body needs a variety of movement to be strong and functional.  Include strength training and movement to maintain your range of motion regularly in your training plan.  If you move every joint in every direction every day, your body will be more evenly trained allowing for greater function and less chance of injury.

Seams Are NOT Your Friend
As you begin to add mileage it is important that you pay attention to clothing choice on your long run days.  Those tiny little seams that are directly on your skin may become the most painful and distracting part of your run one day.  Add moisture from rain, sweat, or a splash of water and you may have to learn about chafing the hard way.  Men, you may not even need seams.  A simple cotton t-shirt can be a sure way to experience the dreaded nipple chafe.  How do you avoid it?   Wear tech clothing with flat seams or no seams at all.  Invest in some Body Glide or other form of anti-chafing gel, cream, etc. and apply where your clothing may begin to rub.  And, finally, test out new clothing on a short run or while doing some other form of exercise for fit, comfort, and chafe-prevention. 

As you train for your upcoming race, remember to train smart, rest well, and dress for comfort and performance.  Run strong and run smart, friends!

Let me know how your training is going and/or submit questions or suggestions for future topics to TheFitnessStudio@canby.com


Sunday, April 14, 2013


I, like many of you, began running as an adult.  I never ran track or cross-country in high school.  I just decided one day that I was going to start running, so I was truly a self-taught runner.  Because of this, I made many errors - especially when I started running longer distances.  Over the years I have learned from my mistakes and from my education as a fitness professional. 

Some of you are new to the distance you are currently preparing for and others may be new to running altogether.  I'd like to help you skip over a few of those running mistakes so that your first race will be a successful one, starting with these three tips. 

Train For It
Most of us know we need to prepare our bodies for whatever distance we are going to run.  But, many training plans have you prepare for a shorter distance than you are racing, assuming you will make up for the last few miles with pure will and race-day adrenaline.  Why not make it easier on yourself and train beyond the distance you are going to run on race day?  That will make your race distance easier both physically and mentally.  Since I employed this philosophy I have felt better during races, been able to PR (personal record) more often, and been able to better focus the mental aspect that race day can bring.   

Practice Fueling and Hydrating
Race day often brings new variables.  If you usually hydrate with water and then try a sports drink on race day, you may discover that your stomach can't handle that particular form of hydration.  If you've never tried any form of fuel along the way during your training runs, you won't know how your body will handle that gel you decide to try for the first time on race day.  Figure out your hydration and try different forms of fuel during your training runs and then stick with it, so that your race day experience doesn't involve stomach cramps or nausea (or worse!)

Determine Your Ideal Pre-Race Meal
Some people can eat anything before they run without incident.  Most of us cannot.  Try out your pre-run breakfast until you find the ideal foods and the ideal amount of time to eat before you run.  There is nothing worse than breakfast sitting in your stomach like a rock while you try to gut out a long run.  Keep that breakfast lower in protein and higher in carbs, unless you have an iron stomach, as protein takes longer to digest. 

Let me know how your training is going and/or submit questions or suggestions for future topics to TheFitnessStudio@canby.com