Who doesn’t love spring? The weather’s getting nice, but it’s not too hot yet. Races are plentiful, and the Statesman Capitol 10,000, set for Sunday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m., is getting ready to kick off. Ready to Run will take you right up to race day and even give you some basic strategies to make this one count.
This week, as the excitement builds and you gear yourself up, remember:
Don’t try anything new. That means save your new running shoes for after the race. Don’t suddenly try a new diet. Stick with the running apparel you’ve run in and that you know works for you. (Costume wearers are exempt from this bit of advice).
Drink up. It’s always a good idea to make water a big part of your daily routine if you’re a runner. This is especially true as it begins to warm up. It’s amazing how many runners become chronically dehydrated and while not life-threatening, it can hamper your racing. Renowned exercise physiologist, Ed Coyle, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Austin, states that “even a small amount of dehydration causes a decrease in running performance by reducing blood volume and the amount of blood pumped to the working muscles.”
Taper down some. Yes, this is never fun advice for the avid runner. But what would you rather say when your co-worker asks you how you did in the Cap 10? “I ran a great workout the week leading up to it,” or “I set a PR!” Standard advice calls for a 10-20% reduction in weekly mileage and a day off (no running!) either on Friday or Saturday before the race.
Sleep, sleep, sleep. If you’re like the typical overworked, over-stressed American, you probably don’t get enough sleep. You may even be proud of your five or six-hour average sleep nights. Wrong. Your body will reap recovery benefits of eight-hour sleep nights, even if you toss and turn the night before the race and only get a few hours of ZZZs.
Eat healthy. Most runners go carb-crazy at thought of any race, even a 5K. The reality is, you really only need to worry about carbohydrates in distances like the marathon. So, stick with your usual fare, but keep it clean; It’s probably not a good idea to eat a huge pepperoni pizza the night before the race.
Do race-day right. Get up early—at least two to three hours before the start time and eat a light breakfast. Some runners prefer to run on empty, and that’s fine, provided that you’re used to it. Dress light. Chances are fairly good that it’s going to be mild out on race morning. Shorts and a singlet should do the trick.
When the starting horn blows, don’t sprint up Congress Avenue like you’re running a 200-meter dash. Pace yourself through the early miles, especially on 15th Street and Enfield Boulevard, where the hills kick in. You’ll be oh-so-glad you did when you start blowing by people on Cesar Chavez and across the bridge on South First Street.
Upcoming races: Sunday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m., the Statesman Capitol 10,000. The big one starts at Congress Avenue Bridge and finishes at W. Riverside Dr. by Auditorium Shores. Saturday, April 13 at 8:00 a.m., the Burnet Bluebonnet 5K/10K at Burnet Chamber on the Square in Burnet.