Preparation is Key

The final stretch before the Princess Half Marathon Weekend is here!

One week left before I die trying to do back to back 5k, 10k, and half marathon runs.

I decided this is a good time to go over pre-race prep, and what my normal routine looks like.

The first crucial part of prepping for a race, especially one as intensive as I’m doing, is HYDRATING. This is so important. Don’t just wait until the day before to start drinking more water.

Typically, I drink at least 80oz of water per day anyway. The week leading up to a race, I tend to up that at least another 20oz a day.

I also try to be careful about my food during this time. A lot of people think that if you’re running long distances, you get to eat whatever you want. False. I try to maintain a decent amount of protein, veggies, and complex carbs. I steer clear of eating anything new, simply to avoid stomach upset. This is especially important the morning of a run. I don’t do anything new. No new drinks, no new foods, no new running shoes or clothes. Nothing. That is how you end up in misery two miles into your 13.1 mile trek.

To give an example, I went for a training run that was around 8 miles. I stopped in at WheelWorks to grab an extra energy gel, and decided to try a new brand they had. BIG MISTAKE. About 10 minutes after consuming it, I wanted to vomit. The whey protein did not settle with my stomach, and I ended up hating myself the rest of the way back to the car.

Since then I have stuck only with GU gels and Sports Beans. They’re dairy free, I know how my stomach reacts to them, and they taste great.

I may have a small GU obsession…

Around this time is when I make sure to plan out my running gear for the weekend. I don’t plan out anything I haven’t already run in. My usual outfit consists of dry-wick compression leggings, compression calf sleeves, and a dry-wish tank or shirt. For socks, compression foot socks with built in arch support are my godsends paired with my Under Armour shoes.

It’s incredibly important to run in something you are comfortable in. After 13 miles, you may very well end up hating that cotton t-shirt that is chafing under your arms. Many people during Disney races wear tutus, ears, or full costumes, and I have no idea how they do it. I would be readjusting my clothing every few feet. It took me about two years just to find a good running belt to keep my phone in, let alone trying to run with Mickey ears.

One thing I have added to my running gear is a CamelBak to not only keep extra water with me, but also store my snacks, phone, inhaler, etc… Something to note, though, is that I train with my CamelBak on and filled. This is key, otherwise your back will be at war with you spontaneously deciding to run with 5lbs of water strapped to you.

Above are examples of my normal race gear. The atrocious creases at my knees are the compression sleeves under my leggings.

The last thing to make sure you do is SLEEP. I know this can actually be a daunting task when you have to be up at 3am to get to the corrals in time, but it’s super important. Put up some blackout curtains, get an eye mask, do whatever you need to do, but try to get as much sleep as you can. It sucks when you don’t plan accordingly, get off work at midnight, and have to essentially turn right around to run a 5k. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

You Are What You Eat

One of the most important aspects of training is what you eat. The biggest myth around running (and heavy exercise in general) is that you get to eat whatever you want. This is so utterly false. If you are loading your body with a bunch of crap, you’re going to feel exactly that way when you run.

Now, when you’re brand new to running, it can be confusing as to what you should eat, what sports supplements you need or don’t need, whether sports drinks are really bad for you, etc… You’ll have GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, what have you trying to sell you all sorts of different, very expensive mixes and supplements saying you NEED these to be a good runner.

Don’t listen to them.

Running shouldn’t be expensive (at least outside of your bib fees…). You don’t need a bunch of fancy sports drinks and protein powders to improve your pace.

That being said, if you really want to try all of those things, be my guest. I do personally use a few pre-workouts and protein shakes because I have found some benefits to certain ones I’ve tried. Everyone is different, though.

I’m going to be gradually posting up a series on healthy recipes and such that everyone can use as part of their training regimen. Today, though, I’m going to share a general overview of what I personally use.

***PLEASE NOTE: I am not a medical professional nor a dietitian. All recommendations are based on personal experience. Please always consult your doctor before starting any diet/exercise routine.***

Best pre-workout I have ever tried. As an asthmatic, this has helped open my lungs to breathe while running, as well as provide ample energy for distance running.
These have been my go-to breakfast items. I generally do a cold brew/almond milk shake every morning with one of the protein powders and some MCT oil to help process the caffeine.
BEST THINGS EVER. As you run longer distances, you’ll need to replenish your aminos, as well as your carbs. These help with both! You’ll typically see these passed out during races along with water and Gatorade.
Your most important thing to consume. WATER. Lots of it. I carry a 40oz bottle with me everywhere, and drink at least two of them a day. Not a fan of plain water? Try something like Mio drops, which are sugar free and no calorie, to add some flavor.