8 miles easy / 1:12 / 9:00 avg pace
Last night I was scrolling through my list of blog topics (I keep a list on my BlackBerry), trying to decide what to write about. “My Top Tips” seemed intriguing (to me, at least). These are marathon/half marathon training tips that I swear by. My intention is to list the less obvious stuff; maybe things you don’t hear all the time.
Know The Course
The race course, that is. Check out the elevation profile and do some research. Ask around, check out marathonguide.com, and find out as much as you can. But remember, hills are subjective! Some people think rolling hills are mountains while others think a 1-mile climb is flat. After you gather your information, train for the worst case scenario. I’ve gotten burned in the past (“it’s a flat course, no major hills”). Riiiiight. I learned my lesson last May. Now, if I know there’s one small hill, I’ll incorporate hill work just to be on the safe side.
Delete Your Garmin History Pre-Race
Of course, you’ll charge your Garmin obsessively before the race but it’s also important to delete the history so you avoid getting that nasty warning message during a race. Upload all of your data to your computer and then delete the history on the watch itself. I’ve never gotten the “memory full” warning during a race but it did happen on a 20-miler once.
How Am I Going To Carry All Of That?
GUs, ShotBloks, oh my. Add an iPod or water bottle to the mix and suddenly you’ve got a lot to carry. There are a lot of options out there – fuel belt, SPIbelt, race ready shorts (you know you want them!) – but, as with everything, you need to find what works best for you. Experiment on long runs and take note of any bouncing, moving around, chafing/irritation, and bruising (yup, some are brutal). Make sure you test it on a 20 mile run too. Some things don’t rear their ugly head until the later miles.
Foam Roller + Ice = Your New Best Friends
This is more of an obvious one. If anything hurts, foam roll it and ice it. And be consistent – repeat a few times a day. This could prevent that “twinge” or “tweak” from becoming an injury. A little time spent with your new BFs can save you lots of time later on in training. Runner’s World has some great videos on how to use a foam roller.
Refuel After Hard Efforts
Your body will thank you the next day. Trust me. A hard effort is a long run, a tempo run, a speed workout, etc. It’s important to refuel within 30 minutes post-run with a 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio food/drink. Chocolate milk fits the bill and who doesn’t love an excuse to drink more chocolate milk?
What training/race day tips do you swear by?