Race season has started and charity and fun runs are popping up all over the place.
Next weekend is the Bluenose Marathon here in Nova Scotia (http://bluenosemarathon.com/). It’s a bit of a big deal here and it’s a race that I’ve thought about/wanted to do the last couple of years but, in all honesty, I can never remember to sign up for it. I’m clearly a dough-head.
I have managed to participate in several races over the years.
My favorite – and by far the most fun – race is the Zombie Run (http://www.zombietrailrun.ca/). Of course there are variations of this fun run all over the place (http://www.zombierun.com/, https://zombiesurvivor.ca/index.php, http://www.the5kzombierun.com/ <– Seriously, just Google “zombie races” and I’m sure you’ll find one in near your area). I’ve already participated in this race twice and my bff/race buddy and I have already pre-registered for September’s run again. It’s something to look forward to.
Last year I messed up and ended up rolling my ankle on the trail (https://nsfitbitch.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/zombie-run-2015/) and ended up with a good sprain. Good as in bad. Ugh. The worst part of last year’s mishap was that it happened two weeks before the Harvest Marathon and I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to participate.
But I worked through the sprain. I did take it easy for a bit but as soon as I really thought I was able, I continued my training so that I could complete the Harvest.
The Valley Harvest Marathon (http://www.valleyharvestmarathon.com/) is a pretty incredible event. The Harvest is for serious runners. And, although it certainly isn’t classified as a “fun run”, it is definitely a huge deal and an accomplishment. When I completed my run last October I was elated (and tired!).
In fact, my most memorable moment from any race was probably fighting to cross that finish line last year. I had to pee so bad (I refused to use a Port-a-Potty) and my hip had kinked up part-way through the race and I was in pain. I really had wanted to stop and walk but I kept pushing and when I got to the track to circle it and make my way to the finish I kicked ‘er into high gear and gave it everything I had left. I felt incredible.
And, one of the best thing about running in Nova Scotia in the fall is that it looks like this:
There are so many races I’d love to participate in but they add up so I try to choose wisely. My BFF/race buddy and I are checking out some fun runs in the US to participate in. There are a few in Maine and New York that we’re looking at that seem like they’d be a lot of fun. And it would give us a reason for a girls’ weekend/road trip.
When I am gearing up for a race here are some tips I follow:
- I run at least a few times a week. Inside and out. Although I prefer to run outside, sometimes the only option is to hit the treadmill. And when that happens I definitely increase the incline and the resistance. I need my practice runs to be similar to the terrain I’ll be racing on.
- I increase my strength training. Although I’m a big pusher of strength training anyway, when I’m approaching race season I try to bring it just a little bit more for the few months preceding the race. Strength training is important for structural fitness (the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles to withstand the impact of running), it aids in injury prevention, and it helps you run faster. Strength training also strengthens your bones.
- I try to do a “run thru” of the run. Not the exact course, but a run thru of the distance of the upcoming run.
- I find the “right” tune and make it my racing buddy. Over the last two years my two favorite training tunes have been “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker (please don’t judge me – that’s a really good song) and “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. These two songs have basically been playing on repeat while I’ve been training and running. They keep me at a good pace so I can count my steps and not overdo it, ensuring that I don’t burn out fast. In fact, when I was running in the Harvest last year, Wagon Wheel was my running bitch. I had the song playing continuously through and I kept my pace down so that I could keep my cardio up and finish the race in a decent time.
- Carb up – but don’t overdo it. As you know, carbohydrate is the fuel for your body. I’ve made the mistake of not eating properly before workouts and runs before and nearly killed myself. Nowadays I know better and I’m careful what I put in my body so that I can make the most out of a workout or a run. I want to ensure I have enough fuel to last me through the entire race too.
I really love running. And the races I participate in give me a goal to work toward. I would encourage anyone to check out runs in and around their specific area. Or look at runs in other areas and make a mini-vacation out of it.
Charity runs are something I have participated in and plan to participate in again, likely this season. It’s great to get out and support a great cause, show some community spirit, and have a great run.
Check out cool websites like Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.ca/) to search for upcoming races, or, to create your own https://www.eventbrite.ca/l/event-management-software/.