Tips for the Sun Run Countdown

From The Vancouver Sun – April 23, 2014

By Bethany Lindsay

The months of training are nearly over and the big day is almost here. Is there anything participants can do during these last few days and hours in order to get the best results possible in the Sun Run?

The Sun’s Bethany Lindsay asked Rainy Kent, Burnaby area coordinator for SportMedBC’s RunWalk / Sun Run InTraining program, for her advice about eating, running, resting and planning in the final days leading up to the race. Responses have been edited for length.

Q: What’s the most important thing to do the day before a big race?

A: Get everything ready that you’re going to need for your event. You want to cut your toenails, you want to pin your number on the front of the shirt you’re going to wear, you want to get your shoes ready – all the clothes that you’re going to wear. Everything (should be) ready before your alarm goes off in the morning.

You don’t want to wear anything that you haven’t worn during training. You don’t want to take the risk of chafing with a new pair of shorts that look really good hanging on the rack, or running shoes that you haven’t worn that could possibly blister.

Think about how you’re going to get down to the event, if you’re going to SkyTrain or if you’re going to be riding with somebody. Have all of those things organized ahead of time so you have a plan. Look at the map of the race just so that you have a really good visual in your mind of what the course looks like.

Rainy KentQ: What should I eat the night before the race?

A: Anything that you find easy to digest. I would say a pasta dish or a rice dish, something that you know you digest well. I would stay away from the big steak dinner with a bottle of red wine, anything that is going to be a little bit harder on your stomach.

Q: What about on the morning of the race?

A: You want to get up early enough to have a breakfast of whatever worked well for you during training. A lot of people have trouble eating breakfast, so if you can, have half a banana and a small dish of yogurt or a piece of toast with peanut butter and a glass of milk. Not ham and eggs and hollandaise sauce, something simple and easy to digest that has been working for you. Now is not the time to start trying something new.

Q: Should I change my running schedule or intensity in the week before a race?

A: Nope, training is done. You cannot cram for Sun Run. If you’ve put in the training and did your homework, you are so ready to go on event day.

I say, go for a little bit of a short run or a run-walk maybe on Friday, and it’s more just to settle your nerves than it is a training effect. You want to feel like a can of pop that’s been shaken up and you’re standing there waiting for the top to pop.

For most people on race day, they need to walk to the starting line, and that’s a great opportunity to warm up. Just wandering around that little bit, kind of moving around on the spot while you’re waiting to go is really a great warm up.

Q: How much sleep should I get?

A: Seven to eight hours. I always think the two nights before your event is your most restful sleep. You’re just not as nervous, you’re more relaxed and it’s just easier to get that sleep on the Friday.

Q: Do I need to carry water or food with me on the run?

A: The volunteers for the Sun Run do such an amazing job with the water stops and the aid stations and the cheering that I would say this is one event that you don’t need to worry about anything like that. There will be plenty of refreshments when you finish.

Q: How do I stop myself from getting too caught up with what everyone else is doing during the race?

A: You’re going to be a little pent-up to begin with and you’ll start to relax once you get into the groove of moving. As long as you take time to look around and enjoy everything that’s going on around you, it will make for a fabulous event.

Q: What do I do if I feel myself hitting the wall?

A: Just slow down. Take a little bit of a break. Walk a bit, if you’re running. If you’re already walking, just slow it down and take a breath, and then carry on again. It’s not about the other person, it’s about you.

Q: Any other good advice for these last few days?

A: One of the other things that I always recommend is either go to the loonie store and buy one of those dollar ponchos or get a big plastic garbage bag and just have it in your pocket, just in case the weather is a little bit cooler or damp. If you have that bag it just keeps that body warmth in while you’re waiting.

Starting off too fast can be a big problem. That’s a hard one because you’re running straight down Georgia and that’s a really nice downhill, so it’s easy to get caught up in going too fast, too soon.

After the race, remember to make your way into the stadium and take advantage of the refreshments that are there and do some nice, gentle stretching. When you get back home, find a quiet place on the floor to stretch and relax. Just reflect on your Sun Run experience and then wear it proudly for the rest of the week.

This article is from the Wednesday, April 23rd edition of The Vancouver Sun

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