Sunday, 30 June 2013

The last mile of the way

The countdown is on.

This weekend I completed my last "long run" before next Sunday's Gold Coast Marathon.

At this stage of the game, there's nothing further to be done to prepare for the 42km run, except perhaps stretch and stay healthy.

In many respects next Sunday's race has already been run - it's just the final result which remains uncertain.

The past 16 weeks of training have involved long three-hour runs, series of sprints and hill repetitions.   At the peak of the training, about four weeks ago, I was running 70km a week.    It's been a tiring and sometimes onerous journey, but also quite rewarding (though this tends to be felt after the run rather than during the run).

Like many runners, I have a routine to prepare myself for the start line.   Part of this is practical, but for the most part I think it is more for mental readiness.

Here's my top five race checklist:

1.  Wash my running shoes
Probably not something advised by the manufacturer but there is something about sparkling clean runners which makes you want to... run.   I realise clean shoes won't make me run any faster; that's the job of my new neon green running shirt!

Clean and bright and ready to run

2.  Pick an outfit
This year, I'm going all neon.  I've got blue, orange and green.   There's no doubt people will see me coming (and they'll probably think I'm running away from good taste).  Again, there something about a snazzy race outfit that makes you feel like it's time to run.

Don't pretend you didn't see me running towards you in this
3.  Roll around
I used to have a foam roller to "tenderise" my legs, in particular my ITBs.   But I started to feel like the foam was yielding too much so I've gone for a plastic pipe from Bunnings.  It is unrelenting, but I feel like it is doing the job.  In the week ahead I will be spending a lot of time rolling around on the floor.

4.  Needles, stretches and rubs
Last week I had some dry needling done on my ITBs.  It's not a particularly fun experience, but can be strangely satisfying when your tense leg muscle violently and involuntarily contracts as the acupuncture needle goes in.  On one occasion the spasm was so strong it bent the needle!  On the cards this week is a final massage to iron out the remaining muscular creases!

5.  Pre-race routine
I like to get up three hours before a race - enough time to have some breakfast, a cup of tea and do some stretching.   I also like to have a shower, irrigate the sinuses, brush my teeth, apply lip balm, and tape down the nipples if it is cold.   It's quite an extensive list.  I might have to get up four hours before the race!

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