Coach's Corner

Note: I am a newly certified RRCA Running Coach. Everything posted in "Coach's Corner" is my opinion. I am not a doctor or a dietician. As with anything on the internet, take everything with a grain of salt!

Well, I should be getting ready to head back home to Texas right about now.  But I couldn't miss a Tuesday of Coach's Corner, now could I?  Here's to hoping that it retains its formatting... does anyone else have trouble with scheduled posts ending up with funky formatting???  Craziness.  Happens almost every time.  Hopefully, all my scheduled posts weren't wonky!  Anyhow, on to the good stuff...

Question of the Week:  I feel like I can do more than I have on the schedule, should I?
Answer:  Unfortunately, this is one of those that will have a different answer depending on who you are and what your schedule currently looks like.  I will say that you shouldn't just add mileage haphazardly after you have already started into a schedule.  You don't want to add difficult mileage to a day that was meant to be recovery.  You also want to be sure you aren't increasing your weekly mileage too quickly, which could result in injury.  The general standard is no more than 10% increase each week in total mileage.  If you have a coach and feel like you want to do more, then ask him/her.  If there is a way to safely ease you into it, then that might be an option.  If you don't have a coach, take a good look at the schedule you're using... if you added a day would it still have adequate rest?   Is there a good altering between medium/hard days and easy/recovery days?  Is your long run approximately 30% of your total weekly mileage?  You might be able to make some small adjustments, just keep in mind that you want to ease into any increase, and also try to respect the purpose of the workout (for instance, if it's a speed workout, and you make it longer, can you still give the same effort to the speed portion?).

Tip of the week:  Race ready!

The excitement and nerves of race day can get you feeling frazzled.  That's not how you want to go into a race.  So here are some tips to hopefully send you into race day feeling confident and ready!!!

- Two nights before, get a good night's sleep.  I often have trouble sleeping the night before, so I try to get plenty of rest two nights before.
- Keep hydrating the day before and cut the fats and fibers.
- Review the course map, including elevation, so that you can be mentally prepared (it's sometimes nice to know that there is a hill from mile 5-6 so that you can prepare for it and know when it's about to end!).
- Plan your race day hydration and nutrition.  Will you take water at every stop?  Will you take sports drink?  Where are the aid stations?  For me, I typically alternate - water at one station, sports drink at the next.
- Lay out your race gear the night before.  If you need a good checklist, I wrote one HERE.
- Set two alarms and get up in plenty of time so that you can get your body awake, get some food in, and be ready to go.
- Don't forget anti-chafe cream!  (Especially for distances of 15k and up.)
- Have a map to the race site printed the night before and get to the parking lot in plenty of time.
- Use the bathroom - even if you don't think you have to... and get in line at least 30 minutes before the race.
- Line up appropriately for your pace.  If you intend to walk, line up toward the back.  And if you aren't an elite, you shouldn't standing on the starting line (unless it's a really small race).  If there are pace teams, you can figure it out by getting near a team that will be pacing near your goal time.  If not, you'll just have to guess. 
- Be aware of everyone around you, especially at the beginning.  This is not the time to be zoned out.  Make it as easy as possible for faster people to pass, and try not to expend too much energy winding around people that are slower.  Eventually, it should spread out, and it'll be easier for you to go your planned pace.
- Be careful not to get caught up in the moment and start too fast.  It happens to just about everyone... the gun goes off, and you race away staying with the masses.  Try your best to find your correct pace and stick with it, and let the others that need to pass you.  Don't worry about getting passed.  You are racing only yourself.
- If you run with friends, try not to run more than 2 people wide, especially if the course it crowded.  Even if you are 2 wide, be very aware when people are trying to pass and be courteous.
- If you like to listen to music, considering running with only one earphone in so that  you can be more aware of those around you.  This is for both safety and courtesy.
- Remember how far you have to go and respect the distance... keep a good steady pace and push at the end if you still have gas in the tank.
- As Libby says, "Do your best with what the race day gives you."  Basically, there are factors out of your control.  The weather might not be ideal.  Your calf might decide to cramp.  The hills might be tougher than you thought.  Do your best, but don't be disappointed if the race day doesn't turn up Aces.  We are defined by our best days, not our worst. 
- When you cross that finish line, celebrate your accomplishment! 

Come on runners, add in some tips here!!!  I know you all have some more...

Motivational quote of the week -

"You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face."
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Note: I am a newly certified RRCA Running Coach. Everything posted in "Coach's Corner" is my opinion. I am not a doctor or a dietician. As with anything on the internet, take everything with a grain of salt!
(Runners and coaches, please feel free to offer more input and/or feedback on these Coach's Corner posts.)