Gearing Up for the Race Around the Reservoir
Runners and walkers alike are lacing up their shoes, maximizing their training schedules and gearing up for this year’s St. Vincent Geist Half Marathon and 5K. The second annual “Race Around the Reservoir” is set for Saturday, May 16, 2009.
The mission of this race is to inspire health and wellness of children within the community. Last year’s event raised $20,000, which was donated to Hamilton Southeastern School Foundation and Lawrence Township School Foundation for fitness programs. This year’s race promises to raise more funds with an expanded race field of 6,000 participants.
While training for any type of marathon, nutrition plays a major role to achieve the optimal performance in a race. Tyler McCreary, of Geist, knows the extreme importance of nutrition before, during and after a race. Tyler has been a cross-country/track runner since his days as a student at Lawrence Central High School and Indiana University. Tyler has competed in six Big 10 Championship meets. At the Indiana University Big 10/SEC challenge, Tyler won the one mile race with a time of 4 minutes, 9 seconds.
This Spring, Tyler will graduate from IU with an Elementary Education degree. He will be student teaching in the gifted and talented program at Brook Park Elementary School and serving as assistant coach for cross country/track at Lawrence Central High School this fall.
Tyler will be championing the Geist Half Marathon, as well as being a participant in the race! Here are a few tips and pointers he would like to share with the runners/walkers before the race.
“Running in a half marathon requires at least eight-to-ten weeks of training. A runner/walker should be able to run/walk consistently on a course that takes them up and down hills, to build up their strength and stamina to go the distance,” explains McCreary.
Training runs of only 30-60 minutes require a basic hydration and nutrition plan. When those minutes stretch out past the hour mark, however, it is more important to choose pre-run foods wisely. Your body can store enough to fuel only about two hours of continuous exercise. Marathon runs exceed two hours and will require you to supplement what your body stores. However, runners often suffer from abdominal discomfort due to the prolonged up and down movement of the stomach during a long run, so the timing of eating prior to a race is very important.
There are three crucial functions of pre-run nourishment: (1) Eating before the race helps to prevent low blood sugar, which can cause fatigue, blurred vision and light-headedness and interfere with top performance. (2) If the correct foods are chosen, eating before a run can help postpone hunger and settle the stomach by absorbing gastric juices. (3) Food provides additional fuel for the muscles, which is important in prolonged exercise.
To determine the right pre-run foods for you, experiment with the following guidelines:
Choose carbohydrates with a moderate-to-low glycemic effect to provide fuel for the marathon. When eaten an hour before a long run, these foods will be digested enough to be burned for fue, and then will continue to provide sustained energy during your run. Examples include bananas, dried apricots, yogurt, milk, kidney beans, apples and pears.
Limit high fat foods before a marathon. High fat foods take longer to leave the stomach. These foods can linger in the stomach and cause nausea.
Be cautious with sugary foods. Drinking soft drinks or sports drinks or eating candy 15-20 minutes before your run may cause a drop in blood sugar that invokes fatigue and light-headedness. If you depend on a “sugar-fix” to improve performance, your best bet is to eat it 5-10 minutes before your run.
Allow adequate digestion time. Ideally, you should allow at least 3-4 hours for a large meal to digest, 2-3 hours for a smaller meal, 1-2 hours for a liquid meal, and less than an hour for a small snack. You will need to experiment with this timing to determine what works best for you. Adjusting this during your training sessions will ensure adequate performance.
If you are having trouble finding pre-run foods that do not cause abdominal discomfort, try consuming liquid meals or snacks. Experiment early in your training to know how much liquid you can drink, so as not to experience nausea while you are running.
Plan for some extra nourishment the day before your long run. Tyler McCreary follows a simple plan for eating during the week prior to a race, which is loading up on carbohydrates. His meals consist of pasta, potatoes, wheat, bananas and extra protein.
Hydration plays an important role during your run/walk. Serious dehydration can be prevented. McCreary has a formula of hydrating before, during and after a race that has helped him compete on an ultimate performance level.
“As soon as you get up in the morning the day of the race, make sure to drink two 8-ounce glasses of water. Then two hours prior to the race, drink 4-6 ounces of water or a sports drink. Then one-half hour before the race starts, drink 4-6 ounces of water. Drink 4-6 ounces of water at a water station during the race, every 20 minutes.
“If it is very warm on the day of the race, pay close attention to your hydration. Also notice if you are feeling uncomfortably hot, are getting side stitches or cramps, light headed, or feeling goose-bumps throughout your body. You could be suffering from dehydration and in a dangerous spot. You are not adequately hydrated and need to drink more at the water stations,” explains McCreary.
Fluids need replacing after your run/walk. It is the No. 1 priority for recovery. Tyler suggests drinking a protein recovery shake immediately after the race, such as Gatorade Nutrition Shake. Protein helps repair muscle tissue. He says he the shake helps prevent soreness after a race. Also, eating as soon as possible — foods such as yogurt, orange juice, bananas, pineapple juice and raisins — helps in the recovery process. Later in the day, he suggests eating a meal with a good portion of protein included in it.
If you choose pre- and post-race foods and fluids wisely, you will replenish your body and recover more quickly. You will get the optimum benefit of a peak performance during your “Race Around the Reservoir”!
For more information on the St. Vincent Geist Half Marathon and 5K, visit www.GeistHalf.com.