DONNA

The Final Countdown

February 13th, 2015 | Posted In: Front Page Feature Old, Jeff Galloway, Newsletter Articles
By Olympian Jeff Galloway, DONNA Training Director

As race day approaches, the amount of physical training will taper off.  This is a great time to step up the mental training—which doesn’t take a lot of time, and no sweating is involved. There are also some logistic items that you can prepare that will take the pressure off during race weekend. There is a countdown list in my book GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS with other information. Here are the key areas:

  • After the last long run, you will start to taper down on the training. Time goal runners will have one more mile repeat workout. Other than these, it is best to run easy, 3-4 days a week as noted on the schedule. You cannot improve fitness or performance at this point, but you can work so hard that you don’t recover, or become injured.
  • On the last long one, make sure that you go slowly: at least 2 min/mi slower than you believe you can run in the marathon or half. It’s even better to run more slowly than this.
  • During the last long one, walk (walkers will shuffle) frequently. The guidelines are on our website, based upon pace per mile—but it does not hurt to walk even more frequently. My wife Barbara and I use a ratio of (run a minute/walk a minute) on all of our long runs.
  • Mentally rehearse the race, particularly the areas where you have had challenges during the long ones. In your mind, practice going out slowly, taking every walk/shuffle break. It helps to mentally go through a tough mile or two, dig down deep and keep moving, and get through it.
  • Pack your bag—even 3 weeks ahead. There is a list of items in my GALLOWAY TRAINING PROGRAMS book. Include any other “comfort” items you need. As you think of other items, stuff them in the bag.
  • Have a list of motivating thoughts in the bag that you can look over while you are waiting for the start. Also include some jokes, juicy stories and possibly a controversial issue you can discuss with a new friend on the course. This will pass the time.
  • Set your timer. The Gymboss timer, on our website, is easy to set and vibrates. It only costs $20 if you don’t have one.
  • Don’t over eat after 2pm on the day before the race or race morning. It’s fine to have an easily digestible snack, every 2-3 hours.  Avoid salty foods the day before the race.
  • Drink some electrolyte beverage the day before: 6-8 oz, every 2-3 hours. Accelerade has been shown in research to keep your hydration levels at the best levels. Drink an additonal 3-4 glasses of water the day before.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t sleep the night before. Read a book, watch a movie, etc. Many runners have run their best races after sleepless nights.

Your Race Day Checklist

In case you are prone to “pre-race jitters”, here’s a list to stay on track for packing and running.

  • Don’t eat too much the night before: After 2pm, eat snacks that digest easily and don’t have a lot of bulk.
  • Pack your bag and check it twice. Use the checklists at the bottom of this page and include anything else that you need.
  • Avoid alcohol the night before. Drink about 20-30 oz of electrolyte beverages the day before, and an additional 4-5 glasses of water, spread throughout the day.
  • Fluid and potty stops. Arise early enough on race morning so that you have your 4-6 oz of water, every 30 minutes until your “potty cut off point.” You want to leave plenty of time to hit the bathroom before the start. Drinking too close to the start will mean more stops during the race.
  • Put on your clothes with the race number pinned to the front of the shirt you plan to wear during the second half of the race. If you aren’t sure whether you’ll use one or two layers, put the number on the one next to your body, low on the front. Roll up the outside shirt so that the number is visible.
  • Eat if you need to.  Eat the foods that you have used successfully before. Most of the runners I’ve worked with on this issue have eaten little or nothing.
  • Get to the shuttle stop early (2 hours before race time). Upon arrival, walk around the start, check your clothing, see how you will walk to the start. Choose a side of the road for taking walk breaks.
  • Attach your chip to your shoe so that it is secure.
  • Put on your Zenzah calf compression sleeves (if you use them) for better blood flow and quicker recovery.
  • Make sure your timer is set for the run-walk-run ratio that you will be using. There will be some timers with vibration available at the Galloway table at the expo ($20)
  • Start the race more slowly than you believe you can run.
  • During the race, stick with your plan of pacing and walk breaks unless you want to go slower.  Whatever you save in effort by going slower, you can use during the last 6 miles.
  • At the finish, cross in the upright position, have a smile on your face and celebrate afterward.
  • Remember to slow down by 30 sec a mile for every 5 degrees of temperature increase above 60F during the race.

PACKING LIST FOR CHECKED BAG
Your watch or timer, set for the appropriate run-walk-run ratio

  • A pace chart or wrist band, with mile times toward your goal
  • A spare pair of socks
  • An extra long sleeve top, in case you are cool
  • A garbage bag, in case of rain
  • A hat, if you wear one (take it off if the temperature is above 60F)
  • A post race drink, if desired
  • A post race snack

FANNY PACK LIST

  • Bandages and other first aid items
  • Skin lubricant
  • Blood sugar booster food
  • $ for refreshments afterwards
  • Medication for afterward (only if your doctor instructs)
    Note: taking anti inflammatory medication before or during the run is not recommended—check with your doctor.

YOU CAN DO IT!

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