Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Run. Fuel. Repeat.

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So, a few months back, I signed up to run a Ragnar-style race called Market to Market® Relay Ohio. Which covers 76 miles of scenic southwestern Ohio and follows the beautiful Little Miami Trail, as well as some back roads and urban trails. I've been so excited for this, and to cross off this huge goal off my list, it sounds like it's going to be an unforgettable day of running! 
With race-day speedily approaching, I guess it's only natural that health, fitness and endurance have all been at the forefront of my mind. I know how important it is to train, plan and nourish before a big race and how going with the wrong protein bar, gels, or breakfast can completely derail you! So, Today I'll be sharing some tips for making your next race day a success and sharing an awesome packing list.
So, here's a peek at some of the things that have guaranteed a spot in my race-day bag.
All the items on my packing list fall into two categories. 
1) Things you need 2) Things that make your race-day more enjoyable and that you’ll want to have so that your relay/van-mates don’t want to leave you behind at an exchange.

The Required

*Safety Vest: Each person is required to have one {so you don’t get run over at night running alongside traffic}.

*Headlamp & Tail-light: You’ll probably want your own since they get drenched in sweat  + you'll want to opt for a lightweight one, so that it doesn't annoying you on the run.

*Water: Bring a big cooler of water, so that you know you have plenty of water & can stay hydrated.

*Nourishment: You'll want to be strategic with your food selections. Pre-race fueling can be tricky for the usual morning event, but relays are a whole different beast. You need shelf-stable food, and enough of it, that will sit well in your stomach for 24 hours.The items in the breakfast you usually eat before long runs should be safe, but you’ll need & want more for energy and variety. A little something for before, during and after each leg is a must! Here are some staples for the van: Kellogg’s® Special K® Protein Barsbananas, apples, single-serve nut butter packets and pretzels. The biggest thing, is to not try out anything new on race day, because you never know what might give you G.I. distress!
Side note: these Chocolatey Peanut Butter variety are some of my all time favorites! 
They are chewy, filling and delicious!
The Essentials

*Running shoes: Go with something you’re used to running in. The worst blisters I ever got was when I tried new shoes on a 16 miler! Race-day is not the time to break in a new pair of shoes or to see what the “minimal” running craze is all about.

*Running pants/tops/socks: At least 3 pairs of each.  A good rule of thumb is to pack a pair for each leg you are running {ie. if I'm running 4 times I'd pack 4 outfits}. Unless, you're ultra special and don't ever sweat:). You'll also want to have layers, for chilly nights/mornings.

*Electrolyte Tablets – I like to pop Nuun tablets in my water to make sure I'm staying hydrated, they're easy, tasty & fast-absorbing.

*Gels: These depend on what you're use to & can tolerate on long runs. For shorter legs it may be entirely unnecessary and more of a burden to carry resources, but it comes down to the individual and if you like the comfort of knowing you have them available.

*Bring Some Extras: Don't forget to bring a few extra articles of clothing to change into when you're not running.

*Wet-wipes: These will be for your mini shower. I promise you, everyone will be grateful you smell fresh & clean!

*Toiletries: Deodorant is a must. Toothbrush, lip balm, sunscreen, baby powder {to put in your shoes & absorb the moisture}.

*Plastic bags: You'll want to bring lots of large seal-able ones to pack away your dirty running clothes & shoes. I recommend individually pre-packing 3 outfits to make it easier for yourself on race-day.

*Flip-Flops: To air out your feet & give them a break after running.

*Pillow & blanket: You probably wont get much sleep, but at least you'll be comfortable if you bring these.
One thing I always do after running to avoid injury is stretch. It's such a simple concept and so it's often overlooked, but make sure you take the time to do it {your body will thank you afterwards}! 

One of the most important things I've learned over the years is to not allow adrenaline to determine your pace. You will feel crazy energized at the beginning of your leg/race, it's really important to stay at the pace you trained at {preferably below}. This will guarantee that you can meet your split times & goals!

Alright, my fellow runners, did I miss anything? What would you recommend to pack? And how do nourish & prepare for your runs?

You can find all of my favorite Special K products at Kroger in the Breakfast aisle.

Good luck on fortifying for what's ahead!