Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What it Takes

Obsessive compulsive has nothin' on us marathon runners...

I thought for today's post, I'd give those of you who haven't had the pleasure of running a marathon a brief glimpse into the window of what the weeks leading up to 26.2 looks like. 

Tapering, the 2-3 week period between the longest training run (20 or more miles) and the race, is designed to give the body sufficient rest to gear up for the big day, but is also apparently designed as a slow decent into insanity.  It makes most runners antsy... really antsy.  For someone who is used to working out every single day--sometimes for several hours--to go from that to doing almost nothing can feel like torture. 

And all that idle time is filled with idle thoughts... Am I ready? Did I train hard enough? Did I train too hard? Will my nagging injury affect me on race day?  And along with idle thoughts comes obsessive preparation.  The preparation begins weeks ahead of race day, and begins with the outfit.  Everything must be considered.  Pants, shorts, or capri-length?  Sleeveless shirt or short sleeves? Will I need a jacket? Which jacket?  Compression sleeves or no? Which socks?  Which sports bra? 

Then, after the least-likely-to-chafe outfit is selected, one must then decide on an additional anti-chafing product.  While some opt for Body Glide, I just stick with good old Vaseline. (And I will be slathered in it.)  All of these decisions should be made well ahead of time and tested, because the Golden Rule of marathoning is not to do anything new for race day, because you don't know how your body will be affected.

When it gets to the final week before the race, marathoners become even more particular.  Hydrating and consuming electrolytes is key, and if I could get a Powerade Zero IV drip, I probably would have one by now.  The days leading up to the race should only include familiar foods, and they should be carbohydrate-dense.  This is not the time to try out a new restaurant, or eat something that might upset your stomach. 

By race day, I won't want to look at another plate of spaghetti for months... but I'll be ready!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hope you are doing well today!