With Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2016 on the horizon, read Saurabh Agarwal’s tips for the final weeks of training to make sure you stand on the start line on 20 November in peak fitness. Saurabh is an Ultrarunner and Ironman finisher. We have tried to answer your every possible question here.
Should I increase or decrease mileage in last week?
In last week just focus on Taper. Taper means to cut down the volume of the workout while keeping the intensity same. It helps body and heart stay active without getting tired.
- Run for 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. Chill out or walk on Monday and Wednesday.
- Two days before – Rest, or run very easy for 4-5 km.
What about speed training, stretching, trying new training and cross training?
- Make Stretching and cross training your best friends in last week to relax your body and keeping it active.
- Don’t try any new exercises or stuff in last week before the race. It’s important to keep the same training rhythm the week before a big race. Your race should be controlled so make sure you don’t break your training habits at the last minute with new techniques.You just have to run with your peak fitness level.
- Focus should be to keep the body active in the final week, so keep the same training rhythm and do the same type of workouts you’ve been doing all along.
- Scale the volume back but just enough to keep you physically active
- Go for faster efforts combined with some intervals that maintain race pace. This makes you feel the race effort easier. You can also finish off a workout with a short tempo. In any case, don’t focus on volume much.
What to do in case I get injured before the race?
- Injuries have no easy answer, but the safe answer is to back off from the activity. If you are injured before race, just switch on to complete rest. That does not mean that you go to bed rest, but rather that you work other muscle sets away from the painful area or you do pain-free activity that can involve the affected muscles. Do some stretching or strengthening as applicable for the concerned injury and run on race day only if you get well else you can skip the race for this time.
- Swimming pool running is an alternate way to train your running muscles keeping them away from impact in case you feel knee pain.
What to eat in last week, the day before the race and during the race?
- Last week try to eat well as in normal schedule.
- Snacking should be nuts and lots of nuts. They give you protein and healthy oils.
- Refrain from Alcohol, at max you can have a glass of wine or beer, but strict no-no to hard alcohol as it highly dehydrates the body.
- Do not eat anything allergic or difficult to digest. Simple sugars do no good as they release energy too soon. Do not try any new and fancy dishes.
- 3 days before the race
- 3 days before the race try to increase complex carbohydrates in your diet which includes wheat, pasta etc. and increase water intake.
- Make sure you’re consuming 3.5-4 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight during this time period to meet your needs. The key is to back off on fat and protein to help balance your calorie intake and avoid gaining weight.
- Limit high-fiber foods such as bran cereals, whole grains, and large amounts of vegetables for the few days prior to a race. Eating a lower fiber diet can help lighten the weight of material in the intestines. This can reduce your body weight (potentially leading to faster running times) and may help you avoid the need for a midrace pit stop that would otherwise add time to your race.
- Day before the race
- The day before race have your dinner early and try to avoid having anything new, just a regular meal with good quantity of complex carbs.
- Take deep and long sleep on last 2-3 nights before race day as on night before the race you will feel anxiety and find it difficult to sleep.
- Race day
- 2-3 hours before the race drink ~500 ml water
- Eat the same breakfast as you normally do before a long run (just include extra carb for carb loading). Try eating an energy bar or whole grain toast with peanut butter before your runs. Wash it down with water, sports drink, and coffee.
- If you are taking anything before the run like coffee, banana of something, do the same on race day
- Arrive early to the race site so you have time to use the bathroom again before the race starts.
- Fluid intake should also go according to training, keeping the temperature in mind; sweat losses will be less in cooler weather.
- Drink around 100 ml water during every 15-20 minutes of the race. Water stations are available after every 2 km. It’s best to practice drinking on the run before your race, or plan on walking through the water stops so you can drink enough fluid.
- For the first 45 minutes to an hour, don’t ingest solid/gel fuels. Eating during the run helps keep the blood sugar levels relatively stable for the duration of your race. Consume the fuel in small amounts to avoid spikes in blood sugar. Always take water after eating, not the sports drink.
- Once you eat after 45 minutes, keep taking it about every 30 to 45 minutes until you finish the race.
Shall I carry water while running or just grab at water stations?
There are sufficient water stations in the race so I will suggest no need to carry water, just grab the water or electrolyte at aid station and if needed just take a 5-second walk break while drinking and then get back to running.
Suggest music, videos, and right mindset for staying motivated?
- Keep your mindset positive and imagine the strong finish in the race. You should try to visualize the finishing of the race the way you want it to be and feel confident and strong remembering the hard workouts you have done and the discipline you have maintained in the training. Think only about positive things that have happened in the training sessions and no need to crib on the lost workouts or the lack of training.
- Prepare and listen the playlist of music numbers that inspires you. Any inspirational videos will work may it be Rocky or Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or any other videos you relate to. Watch them and visualize yourself realizing your goal you have set for yourself.
What should be my pacing strategy in the race?
- Visit the route advance to plan your pacing strategy based on uphill and downhill. Here is the link for ADHM Route for 2016.
- If you are running this distance for the first time or not a regular marathoner, try to conserve energy till 16km mark. Go slow and steady than what your body can take and start pushing after 16 km mark if you feel good. Most beginners do this mistake of going with the flow in the starting and go away too fast with the crowd and slow after 2 km just to find that they can run no more or get stomach stitches. Never do that. It will ruin your whole run. Pace yourself well.
- If you have set your goal just calculate the average pace you need to achieve that goal before hand and try to start 5-10 seconds slower than that pace and gradually build up to that steady pace in first 3-4 km.
- Always good to grab an official pacer bus and stick with them. They will maintain the right pace needed and can help avoid the flow of over excitement. ADHM has 5 min interval between the buses right from the super pacey 1 hr 45 min to 3 hr. Check out your pacer profile here.
- You should interact with pacers to understand the strategy and evaluate if you will be comfortable running with that strategy. You can also interact with your pacer in this Facebook group.
What to do in case I get injured in the race?
Start doing run-walk mix if too tired or feeling pain or stitches in stomach. Maybe stop for few seconds and do a stretch before continuing. Spray moov or any pain relief taking from the aid station. If the pain is acute get aside from the track and try to recover, if the pain doesn’t go, never mind and quit the race, there are many more to come in future. No need to abuse your body.
You can visit the Volini Recovery Zone post. You can consult Volini expert there.
Should I buy new shoes and apparel?
No try to avoid purchasing new shoes and apparel in the last week.
- In case if you have to do try them out on an easy run and see if they are properly fit.
- Shoes should not give you blisters. You can check suggestion for running shoes here.
- In shorts – check if it doesn’t create chaffing and in t-shirt see if it is not rubbing constantly with your armpits and nipples else it will be very painful during long race. If you want to check about apparels for running in winters check here.
- Do remember to tape or put some lubricant on nipples to avoid their damage during the long run. A lot of runners face this issue which looks embarrassing and very painful. Precaution is always better than cure.
What to do about air pollution in Delhi? Should we run the race in the mask?
Air pollution has now come at the same level as was always in Delhi. So race can be done normally. In case you want to wear a mask during run, try it in the practice session so that you should be comfortable using it.
How to plan the race day?
- Plan your all transportation to reach the starting area. The easiest mode to reach the stadium is using the Metro. The Metro station closest to the stadium is the JLNS Metro Station (violet line).
- Reach at least one hour before the start i.e. 6 AM. Entrance is from Gate No. 14 (on the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Marg) and Gate No. 8 (below the Barapullah Elevated Road). Do factor in time of around 50 minutes to enter Gate No. 14 and Gate No. 8 due to security checks.
- Bring some clothes to stay warm before the starting of race. Pack your race bag with everything required on race day like fuel, water, breakfast, race gear, and any cream or gel as per your using criteria. Don’t forget the bib.
- A good rule is to dress as if the weather is 15 degrees warmer than it actually is. That is how much you will warm up once you start running. Don’t overdress.
- The temperature forecast is 28° High and 12° Low. On race day, please dress taking into account the cold temperatures, especially since you need to assemble in the stadium at least one hour prior to your start time. Please make sure you do not cover your running number bib with anything including your jacket or plastic sheet during your run. A large amount of heat is lost through the head, so a cap will also help you stay warm.
- If you are traveling into Delhi to run the race, do step outside the morning before the race to get a feel of the weather for yourself
- Don’t forget to do warm up session. Fisto will be conducting a Pre-Race Warm Up session at JLN Metro Station from 6:00-6:25 am to make you ready for the best race experience. Register here.
- All half marathon runners are entitled to store 1 bag at the designated ‘Baggage Counters’. You can use this to keep stuff you don’t want to carry in race.
How to recover post-race?
- Keep walking after the finish for at least 10 minutes! Movement helps the heart pump fresh, oxygen-rich blood through your body.
- Don’t forget to do stretching. Include leg raise exercise, it helps to drain lactic acid.
- Go for refreshment within 30 minutes of finishing – have about 300 calories of simple carbs (some sports drink and a banana).
- You can visit Volini Recovery Zone post for massage.
- At home eat small meals every two to three hours. Celebrate your success by indulging in dinner and drinks.
- For next 2-3 days go for easy run for 20-30 minutes.
- For photo-lovers : You will be able to view and purchase your photos from the event website post 72 hours after the race. Don’t forget to have a selfie with your precious medal.
- This time race results are live and you will receive it after the finish.
Fitso wishes you good luck! Have a great race 🙂
If you have any specific goal in mind, let our running coach help you.