By: Dr. Sean Delanghe , Head coach, chiropractor
Well, there are 24 hours to go! All of the training and fitness gains are stored in your body ready to be unleashed on the streets of Boston.
That being said, 24 hours is more than enough time to either ensure you run at your best OR completely destroy your race. In honour of one of the coolest races in the world going down tomorrow, I thought I’d compile a list of some things you can do to make sure you reach your full potential while I sit in my office suffering from serious FOMO!
(1) During the race- focus on your external environment. Take in the crowd and whatever sources of motivation keep you rolling. Do not focus on your body (even if you’re not in pain yet, focusing on your stride may result in a reduced running economy). Check out my article HERE.
(2) Carb it up. This is something I’ve written about many times before and almost all runners know (some examples HERE). In the day leading into the race, make sure ~90% of your diet comes from carbs. Go easy on the fat, fibre and protein (unless your goal is GI distress). During- aim for 60g/h. If things go wrong, and you can’t get anything down, even rinsing with a sugary fluids can help by 1-3% short term. In general, try not to test something new on race day!
(3) Wear light shoes (but not too light). Every 100g can cost you ~1% (as I’ve written about)! BUT you also don’t want to give up too much cushioning which can help to provide some spring/recoil and arguably help to prevent muscle break down. A shoe that is in the 220g range seems to be at that tipping point. I think it’s always best to go with a shoe that’s lightly used- fresh enough to have nice and bouncy cushion left, used enough to know it fits and won’t cause issues on race day. Do not wear a model of shoe or orthotic or anything else on your feet that you’ve never tried before!
(4) Do not drink alcohol. It decreases glycogen synthesis. It’s a depressant and will possibly make your neuromuscular system less primed to perform. It decreases sleep quality. Why risk it after all of those months of work?
(5) Be ready to suffer (in a good way). Injuries and health conditions are a different story (please don’t risk long term injury for one race), but if you’re healthy, running at your best should (actually MUST) hurt. We know that pain tolerance is something that is transient and can be manipulated with psychological strategies. Welcome the pain. See it as a positive sign of effort. Know that your body trying to slow you down before you actually physically have to.
(6) Do very little today. It goes without saying, but sometimes race nerves can make us do silly things. I think a little shake-out run physiologically will have no impact on your 42.2K race tomorrow. Sometimes I do them, sometimes I do not. That being said, if it helps calm the nerves and makes you feel confident, keep it aerobic in effort and under 30 minutes. Anything faster or longer than that and you’ll be risking neuromuscular fatigue and depleting your precious glycogen. Also avoid prolonged walking (aka tour the city after your race)!
That’s it for me. There’s obviously more to consider, but these 6 items are a great place to start over the next 24 hours. Best of luck…I’ll be following the results like crazy for anybody I know!