by Rhielle Widders

We know that one of Utah’s newest and largest races is coming up this weekend in Utah Valley.  For all of you doing the marathon or the half marathon, or doing the Wasatch Back Relay next week, here are some of the answers to the most popular pre-race questions.  Want to know more?  Click the title to be linked to an article written all about the topic.

Should I taper? (or What is a taper?)
All runners should plan to back off in the week prior to the race.  In fact, your final days should include almost no running and any workouts should be just to remember how to “keep you legs under you.”  This is also known as a jog around the block.  Tapering your workouts will help your body recover fully from all of the hard work that you have put in over the last few months.  Additionally, you will store a specific amount of that unused energy which will help you perform better on race day.

What should I eat the night before the race?
Many runners will carbo-load in the 24-48 hours prior to a big race.  Just a word of caution: this does not mean eat as many carbs as you can as that my result in bloating and stomach cramps the following morning. Here is some info about what to eat not only the night before, but the whole week before too.

Should I be taking gels on the course?
YES!  Your body stores only about 45-60 min worth of quick-access “sugar” in your liver.  Once that is all used up, your body turns to blood sugar and muscle glycogen for its energy source.  That means you can bonk from a lack of blood sugar or you could cramp and loose the ability to run due to the muscle having no energy with which to fire.  So, take some gels with you and take one every 20-30 minutes along the course.

What do I eat before the race?
Usually, for longer races, you have to drive to them, park, get on a bus, drive on a bus, wait in line for a port-a-pottie, and then wait for the race to start.  All of that can add up to hours of waiting and you may be out of energy before you even start the race.  That is why eating before you run is critical for performance on race day.  Although eating at 3:30 in the morning may feel awkward and somewhat uncomfortable, DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST, it may be the first mistake that you make.  Want to know exactly what to eat? Click Here.

How much water should I plan to drink? And when?
Unfortunately, there is not a magical formula that says how much each runner should drink.  Well, actually there is, but you have to know your sweat rate which takes weeks of record-keeping and we are days away from the race.  So…plan to stop at EVERY water stop for a cup.  Some runners need more water than that and may need to carry water with them.  There are specially crafted water carrying devices that make this easy for runners.  Just keep this in mind, if you sweat more than 2% of your body weight at any point in time, (for a 150 lb person, this is 3 lbs of sweat and is not much, my friends) you are putting yourself at serious risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  So plan to drink…

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