Recently Michael, The Feed's Warehouse Mastermind headed off to San Jose, California to race in the Rock & Roll Half Marathon. He head a pretty fantastic go: A PR, a great overall finish and some great food. Here's his story:
Day 1: The flight out (2 day's before race)
When you fly, you don't feel right. You don't sleep right, hardly eat right and the last thing you feel up to is racing the next day. This is the reason, at all costs, I give myself at least 1 day following plane touchdown to recoup, rest and recover. However, depending on the time your flight is scheduled to arrive and what your schedule is the next day (usually incorporates 'packet pick-up' a 30 minute shake out run and strides) it way not be the best night of sleep and therefor can leave you worried about race day performance...... And that's pretty much how my weekend went.
My flight was originally scheduled to leave Denver at 6:45 and arrive in San Francisco at 8:30 but due to a luggage arrangement issue (what that is, I don't even know?) we were stalled on the DIA tarmac for an hour and fifteen minutes. Landed in San Francisco at 9:45, picked up rental and arrived at our host's house at 11:30. Way later than anticipated and way later than wanted. I've always been a believer that it's what you do 2 days before a race that most effects what you do during your race. Oh well, there wasn't any reason to get upset and I was way too tired anyway......
Both hydration and nutrition began on Friday.
With the forecast of Sunday's race showing a high of 91, I knew hydration
was going to be a key component to anyone's success. Regardless of humidity, sunshine, there's not much saving anyone from 90 degree temperatures during a 1/2 marathon. Race time forecast was only 65 but still, nothing to ignore.
I boarded the plane with a full 24oz bottle of water and filled another during the flight. Planes do have bathrooms so don't be afraid to chug. Your pre-race hydration is well worth the 1/2 hour you may have to 'hold it' during take off or landing. And I certainly held it. My fuel was set. My lovely girlfriend packed an incredible Whole Foods Market dinner consisting of California Quinoa Salad and a Cucumber Avocado Brown Rice sushi roll. Sushi, maybe the best pre race fuel ever?!? Oh, and my airport snack, Steve's Paleo Krunch-Apple Pie
. This super sustainable, easy to travel with, extremely nutritious grain free granola is the perfect airport fuel for any destination.
Day 2: The morning, day and night before. 3x eat, rest and repeat.
In respect of the popular rule; don't change your routines in the days leading up to a race, I certainly wasn't going to do so for this race. Not breakfast, lunch or dinner. I typically start each day with the same breakfast. Whether it's an easy day, workout or race day, I've found a meal that's light enough to digest quickly, sweet enough to deliver adequate energy but yet full of enough protein to be sustainable. In addition to my meal, I always follow it up with 16-24 ounces before beginning my run. My breakfast looks like this: 4 small brown Susie's rice cakes covered in PB2 (of which we'll soon be carrying @ The Feed
) 365 strawberry jelly and topped with a banana. And of course, coffee. To start my day I prefer 1-2 cups each with a splash of Organic Valley French Vanilla Soy Creamer. In addition to the 'normal' breakfast, I decided to also take in a Think Thin Brownie Crunch Bar (of which we'll soon be carrying @ The Feed
!) These 100% natural bars contain less than 1 gram of sugar but 20 grams of protein. With 1 more day to fully rest and recover, these extra calories and proteins couldn't hurt!
Shortly after breakfast and before the day's sun got too warm, my coach, his girlfriend and I (all of which would be racing the next day) headed out for an easy 30 minute jog, followed by 6x100 meter strides to wake the legs and to remind them they're were going to be needed real soon. Once we returned to the house it was legs up, resting any hydrating (24 ounces of water mixed with 1 scoop of Skratch Labs Matcha + Lemons
.) After a couple of hours of rest we then headed to downtown San Jose for packet pick up. I always prefer this process to be as quick as possible and to involve very little walking around. Ideally, getting this done 2 days before race day is best, but depending on your travel accommodations this might not always be possible. Success. Parking wasn't too far, the wait short and pick up process took little effort. It was then time for lunch. We settled on something nearby and something that would satisfy all of our dietary needs and pre-race day preferences. Burritos! Full of protein (beans), carbohydrates (beans, rice and wrap) and excellent fat (guacamole) I've always found burritos to be a great "go to" healthy options when time is limited and the options few. As soon as we could, I wanted to get back to the house, put my feet up and rest. I had a very busy week on my feet at work and knew that any minute and hour I could stay off my feet on this day would only be beneficial.
Once we returned, I again filled my 24 ounce Bottle
with water and met the couch. It was Saturday and having a college football game on nearly every channel TV made finding something to watch very easy. I continued lying on the couch and drinking water for at least 3 hours. Until dinner.....
Again, I feel it's EVERYTHING you do the day before a race that matters. Not just 1 meal of the day but ALL meals will impact your performance the next day. Dinner, equally as important as breakfast. For dinner, we decided on easy, early and healthy. Where else, Whole Foods Market. The options are vast, the food fresh and the cost, well.....I'll let that one be. I settled with: in house roasted butternut squash, vegetable spring roll and a Shrimp-Cucumber Roll w/ White Rice. For dessert, 2 small rice cakes smothered in PB2. Water, water and water.
Knowing the temperatures we're going to be high, I started the day with Skratch Labs Hyper Hydration-Mango
mixed 16oz of water. This is a mix that I've used before and during several hot Sunday long runs and one in which I knew worked well. To eat, yes..... rice cakes, PB2, jelly and 1 banana all washed down with 2 cups of coffee. Another 12-16oz of water on the way to the race. After arriving and getting in a 20 minute warm up + short strides, I ate 1/2 pack of Pro Bar Bolt Chews-Berry Blast
(excellent pre race sugar/carbohydrate boost!) with 10 ounces of water. It was go time and I was feeling relaxed, ready and well.
I'm not one to take in much during a 1/2 marathon race or less. I feel that with proper nutrition leading up to the race and training your body to sustain itself during a race, you'll be ok throughout and therefor be able to focus solely on your race. Even hydration. During your weeks and months of training leading up to a race, practice just like you're racing. If you wanna drink during your race, drink during your workouts. If you don't, then train yourself without. I've always gone without (this is partially because I find it extremely difficult to drink out of a 4 oz dixie cup while running 12.5mph) however always putting emphasis on hydrating before and immediately after my runs. It's worked thus far and it worked this time.
Rock n' Roll San Jose 1/2 Marathon: 1:10:19. 27th place. 3 minute PR. Extremely satisfied. Looking forward to what's next.
: Immediately drank 36oz of water. With Powerbar
being the #1 sponsor of the event, I couldn't help but enjoy their delicious Chocolate Wafer
! Once I returned to the hotel and the 'elite prep area' and my belongings, I mixed 1 package of the Clif Shot Recovery-Chocolate
, chomped on a few more ProBar Bolt chews
(Berry Blast) and a Think Thin Bar-Brownie Crunch. Oh, and a Bong Breaker Protein Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
a bit later to tied me over until dinner ( :