I can’t believe we are in single digits in the countdown to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! Back in December when I was picked as an official blogger, the race seemed so far away, but now we will be running it in about a week. Crazy how time flies.
I am sure you have been reading the other official bloggers‘ pages and getting tips and tricks from them (and if you aren’t reading their pages, you should check them out now). I wanted to share one huge piece of advice for race day, and in my opinion, it is the most important one – DON’T TRY ANYTHING NEW! It’s as simple as that. No new clothes, no new shoes, no new hydration or nutrition strategies, nothing. Why? Because you don’t want to take any chances on race day and want to run your best race possible.
Last year I was not very smart and didn’t even follow my own advice. I had heard a lot about compression socks and how wonderful they were for running. I jumped on the bandwagon and purchased a pair. I wore them a little around the house and on a short run but never on a long run. Figuring I would be just fine on race day, I put the socks on. From the time the gun went off, I just didn’t feel quite right running in them. By the end of the race, I HATED them, vowing never to race in the damn things again. I was so mad at myself for not trying them out first and kept cursing the socks (and my stupidity) along the way. From that race on I said I would never try anything new. (Note: Even though I am a compression hater for a run, I am a firm believer that they are magical for recovery. I like nothing more than taking a hot bath and putting on my socks after a long run. Just my two cents.)
So, this brings me to the upcoming Cleveland Marathon and my strategy for the day. As far as attire goes, I am wearing all items that I know are comfortable, don’t rub weird on my skin, and will be weather appropriate because I have been wearing them all along during training. Don’t just think of the main items (shirt, shorts, shoes); make sure you are wearing socks, a sports bra, underwear, mp3 player, watch, and even a headband that you have tried numerous times before and under similar conditions. For hydration, I’ll wear a belt with two 10 ounce bottles that I fill with only water, but I will alternate between water and Gatorade at the aid stations. This works best for me. For nutrition, I will have either a GU gel (peanut butter, chocolate, or vanilla) or watermelon GU Chomps every 4 miles for optimum energy. Even if I don’t feel particularly hungry or like I need an energy boost, I will take the food because I know my body will need it and is used to that cycle during long runs.
By sticking with familiar clothing, hydration, and nutrition, I am hoping to minimize the unaccounted variables that could lead to problems during the race. My hope is to set a new PR (fingers crossed, please), and I am going to try my hardest, knowing I will race my best when I am prepared.