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Preparing for My First Marathon

May 26, 2011

The countdown is on for my first marathon this Sunday, May 29th. I will be running through Burlington, Vermont where I have done virtually all of my training for the past 18 weeks. I’ve run the same paths and enjoyed the same views that the marathon will pass by, and I have become so familiar with this city throughout my training.

This next week to come is shaping up to be quite the stressful chain of events. I will be working during the days leading up to the race, spending time with family as they arrive to cheer me on, running the furthest distance my body is capable of, moving out of my house, finding somewhere to sleep for a night, moving into my new apartment, and trying to keep my sanity throughout it all.

Here are some tips and how I have been attempting to manage my stress and keep myself healthy during the week leading up to the big day:

Nutrition and Hydration

The week prior to the race is the best time to top off your glycogen stores and properly hydrate yourself, not just the day before the race. This doesn’t mean you need to eat pasta and chug a gallon of water all seven days before. For me this looks more like: adding an extra snack of fruit and peanut butter to my diet each day , eating a sweet potato with a normal dinner for a few days before racing, and constantly having my water bottle filled and with me. Sweet potatoes and bananas, my preferred form of carbohydrates, have made quite a few appearances in my diet this week, and will continue to until the race. I’ve been making a concerted effort to focus on hydration because the forecast looks like it might reach 80 degrees on Sunday! My body is used to running in much, much (read: 20 degrees or below) colder temperatures, so I’m hoping the extra effort to drink a lot will keep me running smoothly. I also picked up a coconut water to sip on the day before the race to balance my electrolytes.

I have been avoiding alcohol for the past few nights, and plan to do so for the remainder of the week. I do not want to be counterproductive with my hydration, by dehydrating myself with booze. It’s been hard to not enjoy a glass or two of wine with friends but I know it will better for the long run. 

Stress Relief and Time to Yourself

I have noticed that smaller things have been setting me off and igniting my emotional side quite easily this week. I seem to have a subtle constant knot of nerves in my stomach, which I know is normal but has been making me somewhat touchy with things. For me, alone time is a key to my sanity and happiness, especially with so many roommates and people coming and going constantly. And without as much running, I have some more time on my hands, and not as much head- clearing time. Today I made time to walk around downtown for a few hours just to enjoy the weather, clear my head, and take some pictures.

I even saw a ton of people setting up all of the tents for the race! I recommend finding some quiet time each day, and clearing your schedule a bit if possible to eliminate added stress.

Book a Massage

During my walk around town this morning, I somehow found myself inside a massage therapy office, booking myself an appointment. I am usually very careful with my spending but I think this will be money very well spent. I booked it for the day after the race, which is also the day before we move out of our house. After the stress of the race, and being with family and friends all day, it will be especially nice to unwind for an hour. This will be my first massage ever, and I’ve never looked forward to something so much. This will get me across that finish line!

Finalize Plans and Last Minute Errands 

You don’t want to be running around the day before the race booking hotel rooms, buying food and supplies, or wondering where your ipod is. I have been slowly gathering my gear, making calls to family to set up meeting places and times, and running errands. I picked up my favorite fuel for the race that I know sits well in my stomach. I made a list of what I will need to bring with me to the hotel room the night before, and the food I will want to bring for pre-race fuel. I have triple checked the expo and packet pick-up times. And also make sure that your ipod is fully charged and your favorite songs are loaded on it a day in advanced if you plan to use one.  All the meticulous taking care of details during the week before will pay off with a lessened stress load on race day.

Otherwise, just resting your legs and trusting the training you have put in over the past 5 months is what will carry you through to the finish.

Let me know if you have anymore tips for preparing for a big race or other type of event!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kevin permalink
    May 26, 2011 10:42 pm

    Katie, so proud of you…use your visualization technique from your days as a NATIONAL CHAMPION SYNCHRO SKATER…your running will be light, powerful , graceful, effortless…you’ll run as you never have before…trust your training …you’ve done the work, now enjoy the journey…

  2. Stacey Apple permalink
    May 27, 2011 8:25 am

    Good luck Katie! You are such an inspiration to me! Im glad that my little cousin could be my role model! you are going to kick Burlington’s butt this sunday!

  3. Lindsey permalink
    May 27, 2011 10:14 am

    We’ll be cheering you on every step of the way! This blog is so incredible Katie- I’m so proud you’re my cousin! Can’t wait to celebrate after you cross the finish line! This will be one the best days of your life!

  4. Katie permalink*
    May 27, 2011 8:44 pm

    Thanks guys! your support means the world to me, you really have no idea! I’m beyond excited to see you all and spend the day together 🙂 love you!

  5. Auntie KK permalink
    May 28, 2011 7:12 am

    Hello Katie! What a great blog! The NotSo Ladies will be rooting for you tomorrow, and if running is like skating, ( I wouldn’t have any idea, since I can’t do either), … will be a winner! When I hear that you are safely across the line, wrapped in a foil blanket, I might celebrate with a serving of your oatmeal strawberry pancakes. (The Murphs love anything oatmeal.) Be careful! Love you! Auntie KK

    • Katie permalink*
      May 28, 2011 2:12 pm

      thanks auntie!! not sure I’ll need the foil blanket with tomorrow forecast lol, but I’ll be sure to let you know how I do! love you!

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