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?