Friday, August 16, 2013

Race Face

Any runner who races reasonably competitively, trains for racing. Its the goal in your mind when that track or hill session is hurting, or when it's peeing down outside and dark. Once you start to race over marathons and further, you then have to take seriously the 'race week'. You can't blithely just remember that you have a 100 miler at the weekend on Thursday and then try and prepare.

Having spent race week with Ryan Sandes, argubly the least grumpy, most laid back taperer around, it reminded me of this unique runner's hell.

Ryan Sandes after last pre-Leadville training run
Despite the fact that pretty much all my really intense and emotional running experiences have been connected to races, its still the week I like the least. Firstly, you have to taper, which involves cutting mileage and sessions and using your running time for the one thing that, if you were running, is a joy; eating!

A Margerita is a pre-race no-no!
Racing on Sunday is the worst. From Monday you are tapering, and by Thursday you really shouldn't be running, and if you are it's a miserly 40 minutes SLOW. Hardly a calorie burner. By Friday you are convinced you've put on 10 pounds and then you have the prospect of a work free Saturday, ideal for a long run, which of course you can't do because you have to race Sunday, grrrrr.

Saturday is spent trying to keep busy, but out of sun, avoiding exercise, drinking lots of water and choosing foods that wont come back to kick your ass (literally) on Sunday. You eat early, as the start is dawn o'clock or earlier (Leadville 4am) and then try and hold out going to bed at least until it gets dark.

850 runners at briefing for Leadville 100 miler. Insane!
Then it's race day and despite all the prep, you have NO idea whether it will be a stellar day or a day when you get dropped. Logic says it will be the former, but I've had pretty good days on a crap prep and vica versa.

Racing is fun!
The upside of this week of depravation is that hopefully you've had a good race and post event you can enjoy the flipside. You've burnt off all those calories and because of an overload of sweet crap during the race, foods like salty peanuts, pizza and slap chips all have increased appeal. Hydration via beer seems like a great idea, and when hydration is achieved, cold white or full bodied red wine hits the spot.

I normally have a nice sleepy, tired feeling after a race, when laying down is close to heaven. Sleeping that night not always such a winner, with various muscles deciding to cramp randomly, including, oddly toes.

The next day you hopefully have a satisfying still shuffle you can show off to friends and family along with the medal and t-shirt you must wear. And life can return to normal again, before you embark on the marathon or ultra madness again!

Follow Ryan's progress tomorrow @irunfar @ilittle17 or @planetPi Race start 4a, hoping for Ryan to be finished around 8p Mountain Time.

1 comment:

  1. After racing with Bernard, I was very thankful that I could have an easy week, my legs are still sore... But I so need to get got there and go some proper running again!!!