Thursday, March 19, 2015

Race Week Strategy: Shamrock Marathon Weekend

So, you've followed your training plan, you've thought about your race day strategy, you're ready for the race, right?! Almost. I like to think in terms of a "Race Week Strategy" when I'm getting ready for a big race weekend because there's a lot to consider outside of the race or races themselves.

It's race week!

Here's my "race week strategy" for Shamrock Marathon Weekend- which is just two days away!

Eating, Sleeping, & Drinking- Race week nutrition means lots of good stuff, less bad stuff. Generally, I stick to lean proteins and lots of fruits and veggies. I also try to increase my daily water intake by at least 25%. To be properly hydrated for race weekend, you've got to start ahead of race day. Sleep is also vital to feeling my best on race day- I try to be in bed by 10 pm each night. I also save the beer (and any other alcohol) for post-race :-)

Transportation & Lodging- Virginia Beach is about five hours from where I live, without traffic! I've mapped out a route that will hopefully avoid all the DC and Fredericksburg craziness. I've also printed out the hotel confirmation and double-checked check-in/check-out time. And I've packed a bunch of healthy road-trip snacks!

Course Routes- This weekend I'm running the 8k and the half marathon- aka the dolphin challenge! I love looking at course maps ahead of time so I can figure out where the food and water stops will be- this helps me bring the correct amount of fuel with me for the weekend. You can find all the Shamrock course maps here

Expo Schedule & Vendors- In addition to awesome races, J&A Racing also puts on a fantastic expo. Some of my absolute favorite vendors will be there: BeeCause Charms, Flipbelt, One More Mile, York Sign Shop, Raw Threads- just to name a few! I like to check out the list during race week so I can map out which vendors I don't want to miss in the hustle and bustle of expo chaos. And the speaker series is simply phenomenal- you won't want to miss the legend himself, Bart Yasso, speaking at 5 pm on Friday and 4 pm Saturday. Planning out my expo time ensures that I will see and do all the things I want to without feeling rushed or hurried.

Runner Tracking- Sign up your family and friends for text/email/social media alerts so they can track your progress! I also like to sign up to track my friends- it makes it easier to find folks after the race if I have an idea of when they are going to finish. And I can send them some encouragement for wherever they are on the course. PS- If you want to track me, my bib numbers are 27101 (8k) and 18236 (half).

Weather- It just wouldn't be race week if I didn't obsessively check the weather! It will snow in PA on Friday but it's just supposed to rain in VA Beach. Checking out the weather is important because it dictates what I pack and could impact travel. I usually wait until a week out from the race before I start to worry about the weather- farther out from a month, it's too hard to predict.

Packing- I'm an early packer. I've got all my clothes/running gear/fuel already laid out and will be packed long before the early Friday morning travel. By starting to pack a week in advance, I have plenty of time to think about what laundry needs to be done, what still needs to be purchased, etc. 

Training- I'll be honest, this week I have not been training nearly as much as I do when it's not race week. At this point, there's too much of a risk of injury for me. I am resting my feet and enjoying a nice short break before the races this weekend. 

Being prepared by planning a "race week strategy" has really helped me to lessen my race day anxiety and still enjoy the build-up of excitement that comes with a big race weekend.

What would you add to this list? What's part of your race week strategy?


  1. We started our packing list last weekend, but of course, have yet to pull out the suitcase or start packing. At least the laundry is almost done!

    Hopefully I'll see you at the expo tomorrow, and if not, at the races this weekend!

    1. Yes! I just signed up to track you so can see you after the finish! I'll be working the expo tomorrow 11:30- 5:00 and Saturday 1- 6:30. Can't wait to catch up!

  2. So excited for you Sarah. I hope you have a great weekend at the beach!