August 05, 2010

STORMY taper

It's Thursday morning, so three days to go until the 6am start of my first 50-mile race, STORMY in Squamish, BC. Today I am starting my nutrition/hydration plan that I've been using for a few years before any race that's longer than a half marathon (or in my triathlon days, anything longer than an Olympic distance so half Ironman and Ironman-distance races).

I use a sports drink to A. encourage me to drink enough in those final three days and to B. make sure I get plenty of easily digested carbs and my electrolytes. In the past I have used High 5 products. Since those are not available in Canada I've been using the orange-flavoured Accelerade advanced sports drink, which also has protein, in the last two years.

In terms of nutrition, my main goal is to eat as plain as possible to avoid an upset stomach on race day. From today I stay away from all vegetables, all fruit except bananas, and most dairy products. Basically I will eat white bread, with things like peanut butter, honey, or ham. For dinner, I will have a pasta with tomato-based sauce and tuna, or potatoes with chicken or fish.

Having had the unpleasant experience of an upset tummy during races, I am very cautious with what I eat prior to a long race. I know not everyone is nor needs to be but this is what works for me.

In terms of running, yesterday I did a very easy jog for about 35 minutes. I will take today off, and just walk our dog for 45 minutes or so. Tomorrow (Friday) I plan to do a light jog of 20 to 30 minutes.

I'm making sure I have plenty of sleep this week, at least eight hours a night.

Today I will finally write down my race plan, mostly in terms of what food and drinks to carry between which aid stations, and what to put in my drop bag for the Powerhouse aid station. My basic nutrition plan for the race consists of peanut butter sandwiches (white bread), Powerbar gels and energy bars, again nutrition that has worked for me in the past.

If needed I will supplement those with what's offered at the aid stations, such as boiled potatoes and other savoury snacks that I know from experience will sit well in my stomach. In terms of hydration, I plan to use mostly water, and will have a light mix of Accelerade in my drop bag at the Powerhouse aid station as well as a defizzed Red Bull or two for the second half of the race. I've found the latter to aid in my mental focus when I am tired, and thus helping me physically.

Last but not least, my pre-race breakfast will be my usual morning coffee with a dash of milk, two Powerbar (vanilla flavour) energy bars and about 750ml of water. Again, tried and tested.

Also, I plan to put a bottle with frozen water and a towel in my drop bag. By the time, I will get to the Powerhouse aid station that water should have thawed but still be cool enough to dip my towel in it and put it around my neck for a few seconds before heading for Nine Mile Hill, the section I am most looking forward to.

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