10, 9, 8, 7…

T-minus 9 days until the marathon! (I almost dry-heaved a little just typing that, fyi). For those of you not running, New York I apologize for my incessant marathon talk. I promise to spend the remainder of November and December making it up to you in the form of delicious holiday recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

Running has gone a little better this week, although I’m definitely still feelin’ stir crazy from the reduction in miles. Monday was an off day and I ran easy 7-milers on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Tonight (Thursday) I’m going to my final CPTC team workout – we’re doing a 5 mile tempo at half-marathon pace. I have so much pent up energy, I feel like I’m going to crush it!

My girl Shelby touched on this the other day and I know many of my fellow marathoners are feelin’…shall we say…a little tight in the pants? I’m going to go ahead and blame it on PMS and my jeans shrinking in the dryer, but just in case it’s from a little too much peanut butter (who, me?) I’m trying to “health-ify” things around here. At least until marathon day, then this homegirl’s goin’ buckwild. 1/2 lb cookies, pumpkin beer…bring it.

Err, anyway –ย  I’m not going to engage in any calorie counting or swearing off desserts (that’s crazy talk, yo), but I am making some slight changes over the next 10 days.

1) Cut out the booze (just shed a tear…). With the exception of 1-2 drinks at a Halloween Party this weekend, I’m going to cool it on the alcohol until race day. It will make that post-race brew taste 10x better. Right, right?

2) Replace my usual afternoon snack (read: cookies or chocolate) with fresh beet juice. Apparently beet juice is more effective than blood doping when it comes to increasing V02 max. Take that Marion Jones.

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Who’s been waiting for my sweet photo shopping skills to make an appearance? Tell the truth.

3) Commit to getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Not only does this make me a much more pleasant person, but it also cuts down on my hankering for 3pm double espressoย pumpkin frappuccinos.

4) Remember, food = fuel. I believe it was John L. Parker that coined the phrase – “If the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn” and while I think this is partly true, some foods burn a little more cleanly than others. When I’m at mile 22, do I want to be running on whole grains, fruits, and veggies? Or half-price Halloween candy? My point is, while I fully intend on carbo loading, I’m going to try and make those carbs count. Bring on the cous cous, cereal, pasta, legumes, fruit, salads, and yogurt! But you better believe some fun size twix will be waiting for me at the finish line.

I haven’t been making “junk salads” much lately, but I think they’re going to make a reappearance in my life. I usually start with a base of lettuce (arugula and romaine are my favs!) and add in whatever veggies I have on hand (usually tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, etc.) Then I make sure to add in some protein, carbs, and healthy fats. The other night I whipped together a tasty little creation that involved arugula, red leaf lettuce, beefsteak tomato, red onion, feta cheese, spicy hummus, salted cashews, whole grain crackers, and sriracha sauce. Mixing everything together in the bowl brings out my inner 5 year old. Love it! I think the key is to include some “fun” ingredients. Think – crunchy, creamy, salty, and sweet! Plus veg, of course.

Do you make any lifestyle changes in the week(s) leading up to a big race?

  • I tried to clean up my eats the week before the Chicago marathon (drinking green monsters for dessert at night instead of my usual cookies, etc). It was rough but it made the two bags of candy corn that I bought after the race totally worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m doing MCM this weekend and, in addition to what you listed above, I stopped wearing heels at work and taking long walks with my dog all week.

  • all great ideas!!! i love beets!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    GO FOR IT! ๐Ÿ™‚ and good luck.

  • That is fascinating about the beet juice! Does it…taste good? And does it stain your lips/teeth??

  • Beet juice also won’t make you grow testicles. #justsaying

  • I’ve done the wagon thing and the non-wagon thing during the taper…surprisingly, I had better marathons when I wasn’t on the wagon ๐Ÿ™‚ That said, I did try and keep drinking in moderation. My last time really tying one on before Chicago was 2 weeks out. After that, any alcohol consumption, if any, was limited to a glass of wine here and there (I even had a glass of merlot 2 nites before the race!) No appletinis or cosmos, those are just plain evil! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I definitely try and get more sleep. The last 2 years was sorta tough with the Yankees being in the playoffs (damn west coast games and crazy-late starts! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  • Now I know what I can do with all my CSA beets this week. Running my 3rd 1/2 also in T minus 9. Yikes!

  • I’m still a few months away from my first 1/2 and I have been eating waay too many sweets (I know, right now, there is a such thing). I have to find a creative way to bake healthy things.

  • I hadn’t heard that about beet juice. Very neat. Interested to hear any additional thoughts you have on whether you notice a difference! (Based on my own experience of beet overconsumption… you might dye everything in your GI tract purple! Hahahaha. Too far?)

  • ninedaysninedaysninedays. SO EXCITING. i really don’t make any huge lifestyle changes. except that if i’m just sitting around doing nothing at night i GO TO BED. i’m so bad at just staying up late for no reason

  • I usually cut out all booze for a few weeks before the race (currently trying to cut it way back in training too) and also cut out coffee and most sugar. Basically, I try and stimulate my body a lot less. I just try and chill, eat really basic stuff and rest a lot.

    That said, my fastest marathon was run after eating a steak dinner (which is my standard pre-race meal, btw) and a big glass of wine. I know plenty of people who race great after a glass of wine. Interesting about the beet juice!

  • Do you make any lifestyle changes in the week(s) leading up to a big race?

    -2 drink maximum
    -hydrate frequently
    -chow down on mcdonald super size fries (+loads of salt), 2days before the race
    -stock up on beer for post race
    -carboload starts 4-5 days before race day

  • So, where do you get beet juice? I just haven’t run into it at the store.

  • I always increase my raw food intake. About 80% of my diet before the race is all raw foods. I make sure to carb up using fruit and extra green veggies. I keep my diet as clean as possible. My last half marathon I actually failed at doing that, but still PR’ed. I can’t imagine how much better I would have done had I stuck to my clean eating.

  • Good luck! I have been doing the beet juice thang too :)I happen to love beets so this is great news and I definitely think it works!

  • Like you, I try to clean up my eating a bit before races (but giving up sweets and things I love is just not in the cards for me!) and the sleep – definitely! I run a lot better when I’ve been consistently sleeping well. There’s nothing quite like the pre-race anxiety!! Hang in there ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I try to cut alcohol too, skip sugary treats for better carbs and eat more frequent smaller meals a couple of days before the race, or graze throughout the days on good carbs.

  • Did not know that about beets. 9 days yahoooo!! It’s so close. I agree that everything you do right now (including what you eat and how much you sleep) will help make a difference race day. I think the week before a big race is even more important than the night before. But night before is still important too. Soo exciting!!

  • Megan

    BEET JUICE ROCKS

    Sincerely, Dwight K. Schrute

  • so when we hang next week, it should probably be a dinner date and not a drink dateโ€ฆ has this ever happened before!? seriously, though, i am so excited to watch you kill this marathon, and thennnn to partake in the crazy behavior in november. just in time for the season of excess, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I think I almost dry-heaved reading your first sentence too. AHHH.

    I’m definitely committing to getting 8+ hours of sleep as much as I can. Since I don’t drink at the moment anyways, that’s not a problem for me!

    I would love to try some beet juice, but it really bothers me that beets make my urine (and other things) purple. It never fails to freak me out. TMI? Maybe…

  • Double Pumpkin Espresso?! Yes, please! Really enjoyed this post. Hope you crush your run tonight!

  • i actually cut carbs way back 7 days out for about 3-4 days and then just eat normally. i think carb loading is unnecessary. with the reduction of mileage and eating normal, you are retaining more calories than normal.

  • I’ll assist in keeping you to 2 drinks on Sunday’s festivities-we’ll make wise choices at the dinner buffet table too!