Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A peek into marathon week + more yoga (really?!)

I am still doing the Prana yoga challenge. Day 9 of 12 total days! I have never done a challenge of any kind before and it has been a really fun experience!
Let me catch you up on the last two days of poses...

This is Monday's pose (day 8) which is the Anjeneya Shoulder and Heart Opener

Tuesday's pose was the Anjeneya variation and this was a great stretch! I need to definitely work on getting the arm above my head wayyy back even more. Progress. It will come!

We are deep into winter marathon training for spring races and I thought it would be interesting to go back and look at the week directly before my last marathon: workouts, carb intake, rest etc. + one new tweak that I changed for the last meal before the race.
I hope this will help you get pumped and ready for your marathon as well as dissecting what really should happen in the all important last week of tapering before the big day. Of course everyone has a different training schedule, so your mileage or workouts may vary. This is just a look from the training program I used.
You want to feel great when you toe the starting line and be ready to run like a champ!

This week will start on Sunday and end on Sunday - race day.

Sunday August 31st: 8 miles at 1-2 minutes slower than race pace. This is the last longish run before the race. I was saving the speed for next Sunday. I ran at a nice and relaxed pace - letting my mind wander to race strategy, nutrition (Started slowly carbo loading. Fruits, veggies and grains was the main focus Everything I put into my mouth had a purpose. Lots of fluids also.) and reminding myself of all the hard work I put in over the 18 week training cycle. 
The hay is in the barn as they say. I am ready!

Monday September 1st: 3 miles super easy pace. I also had the option of a total rest day. Note: no cross training or a long time on my feet. Rest was the key word. I woke up early and did 3 miles mostly for my mental sanity, and took a nap later in the day. This worked out perfectly because it was Labor Day and Jerold could take over while I slept.

Tuesday September 2nd: I went back to the track for a quick session. 4 x 400 meters at 5k race pace with a 2-3 minute jog in between. The purpose of the workout was to loosen me up.
As I've said before, I was following Hal Hidgon's Advanced 2 Marathon Training Plan.
Here is what he had to say about today and the week:
    Track workout: 4 x 400 meters, jogging or walking 2-3 minutes between. Stick with 5-K pace. You barely want to break a sweat doing this workout. Its purpose is merely to loosen you up. Maintain the same quality of the workout, but drop the quantity. I want you to walk away from the workout knowing you could have done much more. And mind what you eat this week, as I write in Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide: Begin carbo-loading seven days in advance. Forget what you read years ago about depletion and three days of a low-carbohydrate diet before switching to a diet high in carbohydrates. (The theory was that the depleted muscles--'starved' for carbohydrates--would then be able to suck up even more carbos than normal and thus provide the marathoner with even more energy on race day.) Stick with a high-carbohydrate diet throughout the week. You don't need to eat spaghetti all seven days: Focusing on fruits, vegetables, and grains will keep you above 60 percent carbos even if you have lean meat as a main course. If you haven't eliminated between-meal junk snacks, do it now.
    Pre-Activity Comments: You may still be feeling sluggish during this period of low mileage. This is normal.
Wednesday September 3rd: 3 miles easy. The advice was to watch what I eat for the first 3 days to avoid weight gain. I really listened and was super careful about that. I didn't want a bunch of extra weight on my frame for race day. The last 3 days are to eat a little more than normal with a huge emphasis on carbs.

Thursday September 4th: As the last 3 days are critical to the taper, this was a total day of rest. I napped this day and went to bed super early. My carbo loading really ramped up today - pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals and fruits. I cut back on my intake of overall calories while still getting the carbs in my body.

Friday September 5th: Josh started school this week, so there was a lot of excitement about starting 2nd grade. Again a day of rest for me - zero running, still carbo loading and getting plenty of fluid in. I took another nap today (woo hoo!) late morning, then woke up and we were off to Ventura that afternoon.
That night I could feel the butterflies in my stomach and I listened to classical music and took a nice warm shower. Since this would be my most critical night of sleep, I went to bed at 8:30 PM.
The kiddos were with me, but Jerold and my Mom were also there so they were able to handle all the kid duties. I am so, so grateful to my family - they always support me!! From my Mom screaming my name across a cross country field in high school and college to helping me so much with my kids for race weekend, I am so Thankful for her. She is such a gem and always gets into my big goal races. She likes to know about my workouts, etc. 
Thanks Mom!

Saturday September 6th: I ran just 2 shake out miles today with 3  - 100 meter strides at the end. Nothing hard, just shaking the legs out after 2 days of total rest.
One thing that I want to talk about is my food on this day. Normally I would have a nice sized pasta dinner the night before the race. I switched it up a bit this time. We went out for a big pasta LUNCH - I ate bread, a good portion of pasta and more bread. For dinner, I had a turkey sandwich, an energy bar, a banana, water and sports drink. I napped in the hotel in the afternoon while the kiddos watched a movie in the other room.
Bed at 8:30 PM

Sunday September 7th: RACE DAY! 
2:30 am - Early wake up for breakfast (race start time was 6:30 am!) - a bagel, banana, water and a GU. I had practiced this before my 20 mile runs and knew this was good for my stomach.
Back to bed (with 2 wake ups calls!)
4:30 am - Out of bed and had the last of my water. I didn't want to be going to the bathroom a ton before the start, so I was finished with my water intake by 4:30 and wouldn't have any more until the race.
5:00 am - my race outfit on, Garmin ready, sunglasses ready, 2 back up GU in my back zipper pocket, sweatshirt on until the start and I was off.
5:15 am - went to the bathroom just to make me feel relaxed and empty my bladder. Slow stretching and warm up exercises plus a very light jog just to warm up - I didn't want to waste any extra energy I needed before the race.
6:20 am - reminding myself not to start too quickly!!!! Don't blow the race by making this critical mistake.
6:30 am - The moment has come - let's do this!! You can see how the race went HERE!

One thing that I want to share with you is Hal's advice about travel for races:

    If possible, I prefer to travel at least two days before the race, not the day before. Travel fatigues me, and I prefer to get to the race city early. For international races requiring an overnight jet flight, I need to arrive much earlier. For a short overseas track race, I will sometimes arrive a couple of days before I compete; for marathons I need nearly a week to adjust. One rule of thumb is to arrive one day early for every time zone crossed, if the cost of hotel rooms is not prohibitive.
    Pre-Activity Comments: Ask yourself: How important is this race? Then plan accordingly.

Do you do anything special in your ritual to get ready the week of a race?

What is the furthest you have traveled for a marathon?

Happiness Is Running Life!


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