This weekend I ran my longest race ever, the Acura Toronto 10-Miler. (That's 16.1 kilometres, or 60 percent longer than a 10K, and about halfway between a 10K and a half-marathon.)
Well, to tell the truth, it was my longest run ever. By three kilometres. Yes, I was a little unprepared—some minor injuries had pulled me back from my planned training program. But I took a couple days of rest beforehand and felt great for the race, despite the 6-am-on-a-Sunday wakeup time. Let's just say I wasn't the most popular member of the household that morning.
I felt better than I'd felt in any race all year, and while I'm sure part of that was luck, I think I've finally nailed my race prep. For one thing, the two full days off were key. I did a hard yoga class two days before my last race and my legs were still tired on race day. Also, I've been integrating glute- and leg-strengthening exercises into my routine, and I'm feeling a difference already. Plus, I made sure to get more sleep than usual before the event, including a luxurious planned 9 pm bedtime on Thursday.
As for food, I'm back to my original pre-race smoothie recipe and it was perfect. For my last race, I had toast with peanut butter and ate too much—I felt full the whole time I was running. The one before that, I didn't eat enough, and I felt hungry and underfuelled. This time, I felt nourished but not overstuffed.
My best workout smoothie is one adapted from Toronto's Fresh restaurant, their Date Almond smoothie, which contains dates, almond butter, banana, maple syrup and the milk of your choice (I usually use soy). If you ever happen to be there and order it, consider omitting the maple syrup—it's plenty sweet enough with just the dates. And if you can't make it to Toronto, here's the ingredients I use. I pack it in a travel mug and drink until it's time to check my bags. You can make it the night before to save housemates the sound of the blender early in the morning. And for training, I'll often make this and have half before I work out and half after.
• one banana, fresh or frozen
• three or four fresh dates (such as Medjool), or soaked dried dates—don't forget to remove the pits
• a big spoonful of almond butter (another nut butter would work too)
• a scoop of protein powder
• a tablespoon of flaxseed oil
• enough soy or regular milk (or almond milk, but I don't recommend rice as it's lower in protein) to make the desired consistency—a cup or more
Blend until smooth. This time I also added a frozen fig, just because I have them. Some cinnamon would be good too.
What are your favourite pre-race foods, and what else do you do to prepare?
View all of Kat's running posts on the Half-marathon diaries home page.