September 18, 2012

Tune-up racing

The race this weekend is sneaking up on me. Especially when it comes to my eating. I like to take a couple of weeks before a race and clean up my diet, and since I had a weekend full of doughnuts, ice cream, and cheeseburgers (all of which were mightily delicious and loved by me), I'm pretty sure that shouldn't count as my clean-diet start.

So starting last night, right before the homemade cookies at girls' night, I decided that I'm not eating any more desserts this week. Don't worry, I already had ice cream earlier yesterday, so skipping cookies at girls' night wasn't the biggest sacrifice a person could make. Even if it felt like it when my hand lingered over the open cookie container.

Women's Half Marathon, you better be worth it! They were homemade.

Look away from the cookies and toward this green-ish smoothie.

So WHM will be a tune-up race for my November marathon, even though Run Less Run Faster (my current training plan) doesn't recommend tune-up races because of the special prep and rest they require. That's when I start looking to other books for advice that is more aligned with what I want to do anyway. Thanks, Advanced Marathoning, for agreeing that tune-up races are a decent idea.

Here are some things that they say to keep in mind for tune-up races:

  • When they say tune-up, they mean all-out effort. If you are just using it as a training/tempo run, the taper/recovery rules don't apply. 
  • Races from 15K to 25K take at least 5 days to recover from your effort, and minimum taper should be 4-6 days.
  • For an 8K to 12K tune-up before your marathon, you can opt to train through it and use it as an all-out effort while fatigued -- to help judge your fitness level. Or you can do a mini-taper with a couple of recovery days.
  • The tune-up races give you a gauge of your fitness and help reduce any uncertainties about your marathon prep and training. 
  • They also help reduce anxiety on race day because you've practiced the routine of getting up early, standing in the potty line, listening to the national anthem, safety-pinning your bib. You know, The Stuff you do before a race. 
  • And my add to the list is that you get to practice race-day fueling and especially drinking, which is always the trickiest part for me. 

What am I doing to taper? Well, I'm going to smash together my two other training days on Monday and Tuesday, which hopefully I won't regret later. Then I'm going to use Wednesday through Friday for either spin classes or easy, slow runs. Saturday is my race, and I'll probably give myself until Tuesday to rest after the race. I know this isn't really following the above advice, but I'm hoping that it will be good enough. This is a case of wanting the best of both worlds. I don't really want to change my training plan, and I really want to race. We'll see how it works out, meaning please, please, please stay injury free, my body.


I got in the car after the gym yesterday and looked down to discover this on my shorts. It's rain/sweat beading on my shorts. They'll eventually get soaked if I sweat enough, but I love that these shorts repel water like this. I might even be more in love with these shorts than the rogas.


And here's a random for you. In Alabama, when you get a new car, you can just put a sign on it that says you applied for a tag. The sign on the car below is at least sort of official looking. Most of the time it's just a piece of paper that someone wrote out by hand. You have 20 days after buying a new car to get a plate, but until then, your handwritten sign totally flies in Bama.


Do you change your diet before a race?

How do you feel about tune-up racing?

What's a weird law from your state/country?

21 comments:

  1. You have a lot of will power to turn down cookies! You're going to kill this race! :) I usually try to stay away from my beloved ethnic food 1-2 weeks from a race...lol. Happy taper! ;)

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    1. Fingers crossed! Yes, spicy foods can cause some, ahem, problems.

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  2. I generally turn down dessert and maybe wine for a week or two before a big race. And I steer very clear of lentils for a few days beforehand as well!! I don't really do tune up races - I did a lot of 'races' when I was marathon training but primarily so I could run new roads for the long 20 milers...I got sick of my local roads. I treated them like long runs with a medal at the end.

    I was trying to think of weird laws from the UK but because I'm British they all seem perfectly normal to me. In California, the weirdest law is being able to turn right on a left (you can't do the same in the UK) and I LOVE it so much. It feels so naughty every time. My Mum, when she came to visit last month, told me that she thought I was just being a bad driver until I explained it was legit!

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    1. We love the motorcycle law in California that motorcycles can split the lanes in heavy traffic. We took a bike trip there, and my husband fully took advantage of that law. It seems a bit dangerous to me, but we somehow survived. Have you noticed that bikers do that there? Are they allowed to do that in the UK? California is the only state I know of that allows that, but there may be others.

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    2. I believe it's legal in Europe, it's certainly very common - so I didn't really notice bikes doing it here. Does strike me as dangerous as well.

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  3. I'll added extra fruit to my eating before a race. I do tend tune up for race. Um....TN weird law It is legal to gather and consume roadkill. For the 1/2 marathon please take a picture of the swag inside the goody bag please.

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  4. I never changed my diet for a race but i never really cared about a race like i care about the one I am currently training for. I am officially in taper and I am also officially freaking out about gaining weight. I need to stay where I am or lose 3-5 pounds to help stay FAST for race day! Food is so hard for me though, I like it all :)

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    1. Just cutting out desserts usually makes me lose 3 pounds in a week. Looks like somebody (me) is eating too many desserts.

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  5. I love the distance shorts. I have a pair and they are a favorite of mine. As for diet, while marathon training I have been pretty serious about my diet. I have been trying to stay on top of being healthy, even cutting out alcohol. Although after my 18 miler on Friday I will be partaking in one Strongbow.:)

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    1. Me too! The pockets are perfect, and I like that you wear them low.

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  6. I will usually "give up" alcohol before a major race (week or so before) and drink even more water than usual but I don't drink alcohol all that often so it isn't too much of a sacrifice. Cookies on the other hand? That's just carb loading ;)

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    1. Ha! What about 25 cookies? And I need some more advice from you because my poison ivy is still not going away. I got the shot and took the whole steroid prescription (last pill on Friday), and now I feel like it is coming back. And maybe even spreading more.

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  7. I drink water and Powerade a couple of days before to make sure that I'm hydrated (don't want to have issues like I did after my 8 mile run). Other than that I don't really change it...but I'm not a super seasoned runner...it could always change. Your smoothie looks good...I don't like bananas and it's hard to find recipes with no bananas in them.

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    1. We just throw in whatever is around. But I always keep frozen fruit in the freezer just in case we need to bust out a smoothie.

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  8. But how do they know it has been 20 days. Couldn't you just ride around forever with a post-it saying applied on it. Oh my type A does not like that.

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  9. I just did a tune up half marathon this past weekend. I'm going to do another race next weekend, a 15k. I think it definitely helps me. I usually look at it as a good tempo run, because in reality I wouldn't push myself that hard if I was just running on my own!

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    1. I would race every weekend if I could! I just love the atmosphere at races.

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  10. Such a cute picture of you! You are cute as a button! Good luck with the race. You're gonna rock it!

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  11. I'll be looking for you in Nashville! Pretty positive you'll be wizzing by me, but would love to meet you! :)

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