Thursday, January 31, 2013

Run Both Days! The why and how....

Since my very first Spartan race I have always "run both days".  This means, if there is a race Saturday and a race Sunday - I sign up and race both.  I am not alone in this practice and more and more competitors are running both days. 
When people ask me which day I ran and I tell them "both"  they often think I am crazy but I think it would be crazy to not run both days!

Laps 1, 2, and 3 of Tough Mudder So Cal

Why you should run both days:
1.  Strategy! 
Having run the course is a huge advantage.  You are much better prepared for day two on all levels: clothing, nutrition, hydration (to bring or not bring a camelback), obstacles, and pacing strategy.  If you had difficulty on day 1 you can talk over the challenges with friends and competitors and get tips on how to succeed or move faster through certain parts - this is huge!  I know girls who have been able to get over they tyrolean traverse who never could before just from talking through it.  I have significantly reduced my time on the majority of my Sunday runs. 
2.  Economics! 
It is better value to run both days.  For most of us going to races involves some sort of travel, time away from family/home, and possibly hotel stays.  In my case the closest race is 4 hours away.  I feel that if I am spending the gas money and the time to drive 4 hours each way I might as well make a weekend of it.  This is very true for races that I fly to also.  Spending the weekend at a race has become a real treat for me.  To save money I usually stay in a hotel with 3 or 4 women and I have made so many new friends as well as been able to get some priceless "girl time" in that I wouldn't usually have time for. 

3.  Confidence!
You already made it through the course yesterday!  Of course you can make it through today!  Running a second day is easier because you know you can do it!  You know every turn of the trial, every hill climb, every obstacle and you don't have to be scared or nervous about the unknown.  Although I am usually very sore on the morning of day 2 and think "why am I doing this"  by the time I start and definitely by the time I finish I am always glad I did.  In Temecula this weekend I hit mile 7 and knew all I had was the one (giant) hill left before it was all downhill.  Knowing that this was the last hill on Sunday I was able to push hard and speed up my pace.

Day 2 in Colorado I improved my time by 10 minutes and placed 1st!  Sue, Ang, and I all podium'd and had a much better race!

4.  You won't get lost!
Unfortunately almost every racer I know has been lost at some point during a race.  Whether it happened because they didn't see the arrows, they followed the group in front of them, or the race was poorly happens to everyone.  Getting lost can be very frusterating and effect your entire race.  The good thing about running two days in a row is if you got lost the first day you will know what to do different on day 2.  By NOT getting lost on day 2, many racers have improved their times and overall placements significantly. 

5.  Its a great endurance workout!
I have used this strategy to build up my endurance for the UltraBeast and worlds toughest mudder.  Its a good way to get your legs used to running great distances over an almost 24 hour period. 

So are you convinced yet???

Here are some of my strategies that make running two days easier:
1.  Hydrate and eat well after your first days race.  For me this may be a bigger than average meal but I try to make it a food I am familiar with.  Make sure to get protein and electrolytes.  Some of my favorite portable race day snacks: trail mix, beef jerky or turkey jerky (lower sodium), apples, bananas, nuts, string cheese, chocolate milk.

All you can eat Sushi post day 1 Temecula - one of my best post race meals ever!

2.  Bandage your wounds:  after learning a few lessons I now bring waterproof bandages and neosporin with me to all my races.  Duck tape and/or Kt tape can be good as well.  I have bandages of all different sizes and shapes.  The waterproof bandages are expensive but they will stay on during a second day of racing and they can protect you from further scratches or infections. 

This is day 2 in Colorado.  I got one of my worst barb wire gashes on day 1.  Thanks to Tina Polino for the bandages.  We covered the bandages with black Kt tape and it lasted the entire race.

3.  Compress and rest your muscles:  Wear some type of compression clothing on your legs and possibly arms.  Some people wear compression sleaves or tights.  I wear compression stockings.  They are nearly the ugliest things invented but they are cheap and they are tight.  You can buy them near the pharmacy section of any store and sometimes you can even get a prescription for them.  They not only compress sore muscles but can help prevent blood clots which athletes are at higher risk of. 

4.  Go to bed early:  you will not regret it.  Try to be in bed by 9pm.

5.  Have fun and encourage others!  Enjoy your self!  Be proud of what you are doing!  Help others navigate the course and get through obstacles. 


1 comment:

  1. Thanks to you gals all racing in Colorado both days, I do the same. Peer pressure :)