This weekend I did a rehearsal run for my half marathon coming up in less than 3 weeks.
Is there such a thing as a rehearsal run?
This is what I did that is the same/similar to my upcoming race:
1) Early start & running at race time:
Most of my runs are early in the morning, so this is an easy one for me. Although this time, instead of running at 6:00 AM or so like I usually do, I waited to start my run until 8:00, the time the race will start, to get a feeling of what the sun feels like while running at that time, temperature, etc.
I didn’t get to 21.1KM/13.1M, just because. I did 20K/12.4M, to me that’s close enough, that’s what I had scheduled in when I did my training plan, so I stick to it.
Next weekend I’m doing 23KM/14.3M, although I’ll be doing them all at a slow pace, so it’s not the same (read on).
3) Pace / Fast Finish:
My race plan is to run all negative splits. Should I say my race dream instead of my race plan?
This is what I did on this run as well, average pace for first 10K was 05:10 Min/KM (08:19 Min/Mile), average pace for last 10K was 04:37 Min/KM (07:26 Min/Mile).
4) Fuel – Before and During:
Race nutrition always scare me. Don’t drink too much, don’t drink too little, don’t be hungry, don’t be full..
Breakfast was 2 cups of coffee, a granola bar, and 2 large glasses of water. Same will be on race morning. That’s a lot of liquid but it will be needed during the race. I’m bad at drinking while running, that’s a problem.
Then I had a GU gel (strawberry banana, not bad) before I started running, and another GU gel (jet blackberry) a bit before half way (9th KM). I wish I could eat more right before the race, like a Clif bar or similar instead of the gel, but I’m afraid it’ll make my stomach feel heavy, cramp, or worse (!!).
I didn’t do a full gear rehearsal just because I’m not going to be wearing anything new anyway. I wore a relatively new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 16, same I will wear to the race, high knee compression socks, sunglasses and my Garmin FR220. But I wore capris and a light long sleeve top, and to the race it will be short tights and a sleeveless top.
It was a good run but it was obviously not race effort.
The thing is I can’t say this run gave me confidence for the upcoming race, so I’m bummed. The last half of the run was tough, sure my paces were pretty good, but I’m hoping to run faster on the race, and now I’m doubting I’ll be able to.
So I guess I’ll find out in 3 weeks.. at the race.. I’m not doing another long hard effort run until then.
And the usual after a long run: food, nap, and a lot of rolling.
I even have a fast learner around, I guess her hips were tight like mine.
Do you do a rehearsal run before a race? In terms of distance, pace, gear, fuel, etc.?
I have 3 races coming up in the next 2 months, and I’m starting to get nervous, so I want to recap (and share) what has worked for me in terms of preparing for my previous races, both days before the race and race day itself.
THROUGHOUT THE WEEK BEFORE THE RACE:
Some people love it, some people hate it. But really, a week before the race there’s nothing you can do to improve your performance, only risk it by overtraining or worse: injury. And your body needs the rest before the effort it’s about to make, so finding the balance between resting enough, but not too much (that your legs are stiff to run by race day) is essential. It might take a few times of trial and error, but it’s worth testing things out and finding out what works for you. Personally, I reduce my weekly running distance by 1/3, and don’t run for the 2 days previous to the race. Also, I like to keep my last few runs short and light, but with a bit of intensity in them, so I run intervals with a few short (30 seconds to 1 minute) bouts of fast running. If I were to run a marathon I’d taper for 2 weeks, but otherwise 1 week is enough.
Nutrition and hydration:
My regular diet is mostly clean and healthy, but especially before a race I eat healthy and nutritious foods, without making drastic changes to my diet or trying new things. This is just not the time to get an upset stomach, from either junk food that my body is no longer used to, or even something healthy that I haven’t eaten in a while, especially foods with a lot of fiber in them. And I drink a good amount of liquid every day, preferably water.
Have a goal, and a plan:
You are about to run a race, you’ve probably been training for it, and if you’ve been training then you pretty much know what your average time for a specific distance is. As much as you may make a harder effort during the race, or as different as it might be to run with a lot of people around you (which may slow you down), your finish time at the race is not going to be too far from what you are used to running. Review your training runs and try to figure out what a realistic finish time is, and execute a plan on how you’ll get there: will you start slow and easy and pick up the pace after the half point? Will you try to run evenly throughout the race?
Pick up your bib:
If you are running a large race, and they offer advance bib pick up, you should definitely go for it. It will be one less thing to do on race morning, especially for large races with a lot of people, where it could take a while of standing in line to pick up your bib then. If the race is relatively small, then it probably won’t take long to pick up your bib on race morning, if you can’t or don’t want to pick it up in advance.
Study the race’s website:
A few days before the race, it’s always a good idea to visit the race’s website and go over all the information posted. Keep in mind that start times could be updated, and even the location of the race could change (this happened to me once!). Also, taking a look at the route map, where water stations will be, or any other information posted, can only be helpful.
Watcha gonna need?:
I don’t know about you, but I take with me so much stuff to a race (my list here). Besides the clothes/shoes I’m going to wear (this alone is quite a few items), there’s an extra layer of clothing for before/after the race, my IPod, hair ties, sunglasses if it’s going to be sunny, a pre race snack, a post race snack, water + NUUN, my watch, my phone, some money, keys… I make a list before a race to see what I’ll need with me, because I’d rather not forget anything.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE, AND RACE DAY:
Organize your stuff:
That little list I made with everything I need to take with me on race morning, I set up the night before. Clothes on the dresser, shoes by the door, and a little messenger bag with everything else. Race morning is not the time to count on my mind to actually remember all I will need.
Eat a nutritious, high in carbs, early dinner:
I don’t carb load (you know, 2 days of eating 90% carbs) but I do eat a healthy dinner of mainly carbs the night before the race. I also eat early so my body has enough time to digest everything. Pasta is a great option (I’m sure you’ve heard that before..), with olive oil and a bit of sautéed vegetables.
Not only will I go to bed early because I’ll be waking up early, but also allowing for an extra hour of sleep can do wonders to your running performance. Try to relax the evening before your race, and go to bed early so your body is ready to get up and go by 5:00 AM, or whatever crazy time you need to get up.
Eat a healthy, light breakfast:
Race morning is here, and now it’s not the time to mess up with your food. Whatever it is you’ve been drinking and eating before your usual runs, should be your breakfast on race morning. For me it’s 2 cups of coffee (I know this doesn’t work for a lot of people but it does for me) with molasses as a sweetener and 1% milk, and a homemade oatmeal bar (oatmeal, peanut butter, nuts and raisins or dried cranberries).
Get there on time:
Allow for enough time to get to the race on time, park your car if you are driving, pick up your bib if you haven’t in advance, use the restrooms, take off your warm layer of clothing and take it back to your car or storage, eat a snack, warm up, and go to your corral or start line. An hour should be enough, and personally I wouldn’t do less than that (I’ve done 1:30 hours in advance too).
Run hard and enjoy yourself!
It’s here, you signed up for it (even though you might regret it the last few KMs/Miles), and now it’s time to do your best, enjoy it, and be proud of yourself.