Well it’s the week before the Steamboat Marathon and you've done it, you have trained, you’re healthy and ready to run. I find one of the hardest parts of race training is to execute the taper. On one hand it’s nice to have that extra time that was spent on running and training, but on the other you can feel as if your fitness is slipping away. I understand, I’ve been there, we must remember that a major part of long distance running is training the space between your two ears. Let’s talk about a few things that you can do in the week leading up to the race.
Steamboat is going to be a destination race for most participants so if you are flying to Colorado, here are a few tips to get you here in the best physical shape that you can. Bring your own food on the plane! Focus on lean proteins, healthy carbs and inflammatory fighting fats like nuts, seeds and avocado. A Tupperware container with a good meal in it will go a long way. Bring along some cut up high potassium foods as well, such as coconut water, melon and even sweet ripe grape tomatoes to snack on. Potassium can counteract the effects of too much salt which you are bound to have if you are eating in the airport. You do need salt in your diet to run, but eating overly processed food is often going to put you over the limit so avoid that as it may cause extra water retention while flying. If you own them, wear compression socks on the plane (this will also be key on the flight home….trust me!). Stay hydrated by bringing your own water bottle and maybe add a few slices of citrus to it for the flight, after going through security you can refill at a water station. If you are traveling through Denver International Airport may I suggest hitting up a meal or grab and go options at Root Down in Concourse C, delicious and nutritious foods that of which we do not usually see in airports, it’s my favorite pre and post-race airport stop!
Another component of a successful race day is sleep. I cannot stress enough how important this is! Focus on trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep in the week before the race. This is not always attainable but try your hardest and focus on the days leading to the race. 2-3 nights before the race are especially important as you will not likely sleep well the night before due to pre-race jitters. Our bodies need sleep to heal and reinvigorate our minds and bodies. The many months of hard training and early mornings have likely taken a bit of a toll so relish this time to catch up on a few extra hours of sleep. Personally some of my most disappointing races have come on the heels of several days of extremely poor sleep and insomnia. These bouts were not always related to the actual race but they certainly affected them. Go to bed earlier than normal and maybe listen to a guided meditation like Yoga Nidra before bed. Also limit your screen time and turn off the computers and TV 2 hours before you hit the sack. In addition do not drink any alcohol within 2-3 hours of bed as that can also cause disrupted sleep.
Keeping your body hydrated and well fed the week before the race is key as I mentioned in my previous blog post. Focus on taking in fluids daily and really sit and enjoy your meals, you have extra time with the decreasing time spent training. Focus on paying attention to anything that hurts or is sore in your body. Schedule a massage a week out, a last minute body work session can do wonders, not only for your body but your mind. Spend some extra time on your roller and stretching and be aware of how your body is feeling. Knowing you are putting a bit more time and energy into nurturing your body will keep your mind happy, while keeping the body happy and limber. There are now some great 1/2 and 1/4 length rollers out that I have found fit perfectly in a suitcase. Maybe take an extra yoga class if you are in Steamboat early, we have many wonderful options. You can also use the multitude of yoga classes offered online. Remember to do these things only of you have already been doing them previously, nothing new the week before!
The bottom line is to keep yourself relaxed and happy. The beautiful green and emerging wildflowers along the course will be especially vibrant this year due to a wet spring so get ready for a beautiful day. We made it to the start and that is often the hardest thing to do….now enjoy. May you be light in your heart and on your feet!
Cara A Marrs, RD, CLT, CPT Nutrition Prescription, Inc 702 Oak Street Steamboat Springs Colorado 80487 www.nutritionprescriptionco.com