With three weeks to go before the Tulsa Run, we asked Oklahoma Heart Institute cardiologist and runner, Dr. Kyle Zimmerman to share how we should be preparing in this final stage of training.
How should I be training the final weeks before the Tulsa Run?
The final few weeks of training are important to ensure adequate rest and avoid unnecessary injuries. The last week before the race, one should taper avoiding running all together 3 days before the race. Low impact cross training with swimming, elliptical, etcetera are ways to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Two weeks before the race, a final long run will ensure your muscles have been built up to endure a race distance of a 15K race.
What advice do you have for race day wear?
Checking the weather to evaluate temperature at race time and throughout the race is important to dress appropriately. Dressing in layers for cooler temperatures with an old outer layer that can be shed and left behind is easy. I recommend not wearing anything you have not worn before whether it is socks, a shirt, or new race belt. If you are not sure how it is going to feel on you, a race is not the time to try it out.
Should I buy new shoes before the race?
My advice only if there is one to two weeks to break them in. Not having adequate time to break in new shoes will almost assuredly lead to blisters. As much as a pair of shiny new shoes may help you look fast most of the time it will end up slowing you down.
The week of the race, what modifications do I need to make to my diet?
I think the key here again, is consistency, making no major changes. The night before is not the time to try out a new dish or a new restaurant. A meal of complex carbohydrates the night before will ensure adequate glycogen stores and fuel required for the race. The morning of the race a light breakfast of carbohydrates and protein is usually sufficient. Again treat it as any other morning before a run, do it the same. If you usually drink coffee, eat a granola bar, and a eat banana do it on race day.
How much water should I drink during the race?
For races of 15K distance drinking 4-6 ounces every 20-30 minutes is usually recommended. More importantly drinking to thirst can avoid over hydration which can lead to hyponatremia or under hydration which can lead to dehydration. The morning of, about 30-60 minutes before the race, I recommend drinking 16-20 ounces of water. The important thing is to not over hydrate days before the race as this can lead to hyponatremia and an early finish to a race.
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