So you’ve decided to tackle an endurance race—maybe a marathon or half marathon, maybe a triathlon, century ride, all-day hike, or some other multi-hour effort. Of the many tough decisions you’ll make that day, one of the first is: What should you eat for breakfast?
There’s only one right answer, in a sense, and that is: Whatever you practiced during your training. Race day is not the time to try anything new, because you’ll be living with the consequences for several (possibly agonizing) hours. Still, you have to start somewhere, so here are some of the things you’ll want to keep in mind to prepare the best breakfasts.
NO SURPRISES ON RACE DAY. That includes finding out what type of gels or drinks they might be handing out. Find out in advance, try out in advance.
It’s very personal. Some like gels, some do not. Vice versa. There’s no wrong answer, just what works for you.
For me, gels take a while to kick in. And it really depends on what what I’ve eaten and how soon. Which is great – knowing that, I can take one before getting in the water so it hits when I’m on the bike. But I was finding myself quite parched when I got to running – and it’s been hard to drink water while on the run.
Last night I “accidentally” forgot to go to the gym and ordered Domino’s instead.
This week’s Person Who Makes You Feel Worse About Your Life Choices is 12-year-old LeeAdianez Rodriguez. The sixth grader just wanted to run a 5K in Rochester, N.Y., on Sunday, but she got a little confused. She got to the starting line a bit later than she expected, saw a bunch of people with bib numbers start running, and assumed it was time to go.
Jim Clemens, who finished the race in fourth place, just ahead of Ludivine, says the pup was prone to distraction: ‘She would run off to romp through streams and into yards to sniff around for a while.’
‘I can’t believe she ran the whole half marathon because she’s actually really lazy,’
When you laced up your shoes for the first time, you probably had a short term goal in mind: Finish this run. Do it again soon. Maybe work up to a short race. But if you like running, you’ll need a road map that takes you farther into the future. Here’s how to figure out what that goal is—and then get there.
Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to eventually run a marathon. I’ve been running long enough to know that I’m not really interested in the training I’d need to race a marathon. Same goes for triathlon – I have no interest in doing a half-iron or more (3/4 iron is becoming popular). It’s the constant question I find when people engage about my hobby/interest. I’m happy for those who do, but I could do without the people who can’t respect my decision or feel that I should have the same goal(s) as them.
A week and a half ago, as I was packing for Chicago, I noticed that all of my good running clothes are a bright vitamin-piss yellow. My new shoes are that color. My lucky tank top is that color. My favorite socks are that color. Bright vitamin piss-yellow is not flattering on my complexion, and it never will be. My skin is the color of a baby pig.
“This is my power color,” I said aloud as I placed a series of neon yellow items into my suitcase. The marathon was in four days, and I had gone irretrievably insane.
Running is hard. Sticking to a training plan is hard. But knowing that you have a race in a month is a great motivator to keep you going when you’d rather be watching TV. If you’ve never run a race before, putting one on your calendar might seem scary: Will I feel out of place? What should I wear?
Most big races will have signs with a pace so you know where to stand. That goes for cycling too. Sadly, there will be twits who seed themselves in a pace group that is too high for some odd reason. Depending on your speed, you’ll know them because you will pass them because they burnt themselves out. I see it a lot in the swim in triathlons, because they’re the ones breast stroking. It makes sense in cyclocross racing – being at the front means you’re through a choke point that can make a world of difference in the overall race.
Pace groups can be awesome for motivation. They can be very supportive, encouraging, and helpfully distracting. Obviously the attitude differs depending on the pace and on the personality of the pace group leader. In cycling, things like sportifs and Grand Fondo’s, pace groups can be very small and change quickly as people either fall off the back or someone is joining the group from being dropped from a faster group. But there’s a lot of benefit to being in the draft of a cycling group, just take a shorter pull if you need to.
I’ve also used pace groups just to help keep track of where I am without needing a watch. I like to position myself between two groups: as long as I stay ahead of the slower one, I’m happy. This is mentally easier (for me) than trying to keep up with a specific group.
One frozen January evening in 2010, I shoved a pair of pajama shorts, a decade-old sports bra, worn-down sneakers, and an 8-year-old tee shirt from a dorm dance into a backpack and trudged through the Chicago winter to the nearest gym. I mounted a treadmill, suddenly aware that I’d never been on a treadmill before. I ran to the point of total physical exhaustion: two miles.
Years after Swedish distance runner Mikael Ekvall crapped his shorts in the midst of a half-marathon, his photo still shows up on Facebook. You might’ve seen it with a “fail” caption or a demotivational poster—played-out viral image formats that were de rigueur at the time—or in any number of “world’s most embarrassing photos” compilations. Clearly, people still haven’t gotten over Ekvall’s uncomfortable grimace and the liquified shit trickling down his legs.
Paula Radcliffe stopped on the course and dropped a deuce en route to winning the 2005 London marathon. She didn’t get it all over herself like this poor gentleman, but it did happen in view of the fans and on live TV. Greg LeMond had the same thing happen during a Tour de France stage in ’89. He won that stage. And the whole Tour.
To the uninitiated it may be gross, but to those in the know there is a quiet respect, an understanding, and the attitude about not quitting once is what defines winners.