I have to admit, when I first saw the word "hacks" my first thoughts were that of severe coughing (e.g. hacking up a lung) or gaining unauthorized entry to some kind of data (hacking into a computer). But then, I realized the topic was probably more geared towards "tips or tricks" hacks. That makes a lot more sense. =)
Goodness, there are probably thousands of running hacks out there. The great thing is that it's a neverending learning process with discovering new hacks. =)
Here are ten hacks that are sacred to me:
- I study a race's course map in advance. I familiarize myself with the aid station placements, frequency, and offerings. I also look at loops/turns/end points and hills so I can plan accordingly and run the tangents, etc. Even if the race claims to offer GU or similar on the course, I always bring my own just in case.
- I keep a prepacked pouch with things like GU, Bodyglide, hair ties, bobby pins, safety pins, sunscreen, lip balm, band-aids, salt capsules, pretzels, etc. Then I just toss the entire pouch into my gear check bag along with whatever else I might need for that specific day. It saves a lot of time not having to repack everything each time. Also, if possible, I don't use the race-issued bag for gear check - I use something unique to make my bag more identifiable.
This might be the ugliest bag I've ever seen... but it would be really easy to identify if it ever got lost!
- When I get bored of running the usual course around my neighborhood, I try running the same route in reverse. Alternatively, I'll find a way to change things up midway. E.g. do part outside, part on the treadmill; change my shoes midway; vary up the fueling options.
- I enjoy listening to music while I'm running, but these days I don't listen to it the whole time, if at all. Instead, I'll reserve it for when I need a motivational boost to help myself get through those tough final miles.
- I lay out and prep ALL my gear the night before. This could even include loosening my running shoelaces, laying out the utensils and ingredients for breakfast, and pinning my bib in advance. (I've learned the hard way how tough it can be to pin your bib on straight when you're rushed or nervous, LOL.)
- Negative splits are always my goal. It's better to start out slow and speed up in the end than it is to start out fast and then die in the second half.
- I work on hydrating well throughout the entire day before a run, not just right before. For important races, I'll try to work on staying well hydrated starting several days in advance.
- Strength train (core and hips/glutes), stretch/foam roll, and cross-train.
- Bodyglide, Bodyglide, Bodyglide - and never try anything new on race day. I always do several practice runs in my entire race outfit and with my fueling strategy before race day.
- Lung capacity improves more quickly than your joints/muscles do. Easy/rest days are really, really important. This is another lesson that I've learned the hard way.
Your turn! Please share with me your most sacred running hacks!
Great race hacks! After doing so many races, don't you feel like it's easy to forget something in your prep?ReplyDelete
Thanks Wendy! YES - there are so many little things to remember that it is so easy to forget SOMETHING. This even goes for training runs (so I usually do a route that enables me to stop back home if need be)!Delete
I have a thing about making sure my bib is pinned on straight! I re-pin, and re-pin and re-pin...ReplyDelete
I like your tip #3. I'm going to give that a try. My usual route gets monotonous.
Oh my goodness - it is the toughest thing getting the bib pinned on straight. If it's not crooked, then it's off-center either to the right or left, or it's too high or too low. It's a real challenge!Delete
I hope #3 works well for you!!! It's amazing how different the route looks when done backwards!!!
I pin my bib on the night before and it takes me a while to get the bib straight. I wouldn't think it would be that difficult, but it is. Not to mention finding the right place for it on my shirt so I doesn't bug me.ReplyDelete
Yes - I always struggle with it being too high or too low, or off-center to the right or left, or positioned in a way that it flaps when I run or bulges out when I sit, etc., etc., etc. The bib is a pesky little bugger!!!Delete
Running a route in reverse is such a great hack and one that I rarely think to do! I've done it before and, man, sometimes I think I'm lost! Crazy how different things look.ReplyDelete
I guess my latest "hack" is either adding in swimming or adding in a lot more heavy lifting while strength training. I cannot believe how easy certain paces feel now even though I haven't been doing any speedwork!
The funny thing is that our neighborhood keeps changing so much that even when I'm not running a street in the usual direction, I feel like things look different! LOL. A few months ago I was running down Lake Street, which I hardly ever do because of the L tracks, and was amazed at how many new shops and restaurants there were. It's crazy!Delete
Great to hear that all the swimming and strength work has been so helpful! I really do love your concept of running less to run faster. As I continue to say - when are you going to publish your book!?!?!?
Love these hacks! I also love laying out my running outfit the night before. I also like to plan out my run the night before so I don't have to think about where I can go for 5 miles at 5 in the morning!ReplyDelete
Gretchen - I LOVE the idea of planning out the run the night before. Why didn't I think of that, too? Usually I just wander wherever the traffic lights take me, but it's a much smarter idea to plan the route in advance. Thanks for the new hack!!!Delete
I am a huge fan of getting my head around the racecourse ahead of time. I love your pre-prepped bag idea!ReplyDelete
Likewise - I love your idea of using the compartmentalized container to store your drink mixes. Genius!!!Delete
I've used the trick of running the route backwards before - it really does help!ReplyDelete
It is amazing how different the scenery looks when viewed from the reverse angle! I've noticed so many things that I completely overlooked before!Delete
I love your idea of running the same route backwards. Genius! I do a lot of out and backs, but I'm going to think about this idea. I was just thinking yesterday that I wanted to switch things up.ReplyDelete
Also, hydration = yes! I've pretty much made "Gotta stay hydrated!" my motto at work. I'm always drinking (and taking trips to the restroom! Haha!) but it's necessary! I can always tell (and I log it on Daily Mile) if I was dehydrated on a run.
Thanks Amy! Yes, try running the routes in reverse and let me know what you think. It's such an amazingly different perspective. I actually liked one of my reverse routes so much that it's become the norm instead of the reverse, LOL.Delete
Hydration makes SUCH a difference. I've heard many times that most folks are chronically dehydrated but don't even realize it. So the extra effort for hydration really helps. It's so hard to function when you're thirsty!
I spend a lot of time studying the race course! I really like your idea of a pre-packed pouch - gotta try that before my next race!ReplyDelete
What a difference it makes to plan where and when to fuel or hydrate on the course, right? It's all about minimizing any surprises! Yay for prepacked pouches!Delete
Yes, study the course! I try to abide by that one (and look it up on strava if the course map doesn't include elevation profile)ReplyDelete
Ooh, good call on Strava! In Chicago where I live, elevation is rarely an issue since it's so flat here - but Strava would be a great resource for racing out of town!!!Delete
I can never get the darn bib on straight. It drives me crazy!ReplyDelete
Isn't it the darndest thing? You would think it's an easy thing to do but those safety pins can really do a number on you!!!Delete