Eat, Drink and Sleep
For those running the Cap10K, you have an easy 20 minute run with relaxed strides on Saturday – no group workout – you will need to get this run in on your own. Friday night is the most important night for sleep, so try to get into bed at a reasonable hour, or sleep in on Saturday if you are forced to be up late.
Be sure to hydrate throughout the day, so you are not trying to force water down right before you go to sleep -you don't want to spend the night before the race getting up to go to the restroom. For dinner, try to avoid anything extremely spicy, or greasy, as this can cause intestinal distress, again, requiring you to spend time in the bathroom instead of in bed. As you become more experienced with running races, you can begin to determine your best pre-race meals. For now, just try to keep it simple. Set out you race clothes & anything else you think you'll need for the race before you go to bed. Preparing your race ‘package’ the night before will help eliminate early morning scrambling around…searching for your favorite socks, only to find them dirty. A little preparation goes a long way when you wake up with jangled nerves on race morning.
Race morning - Sunday
Try to get up 45 minutes to an hour before you need to leave to make it to Rogue on time. After waking, eat something light like toast & a banana. If you are a coffee or tea drinker, drink as soon as you wake up so that you can spend quality time in your own comfortable & clean restroom. You should save the port-o-lets at the race start for quick trips, not the real business.
Begin the 2.5 mile warm-up no later than 8am - earlier is better. After the warm-up, you will have time to make sure all the details are taken care of, hit the port-o-let for the last time, and head to the starting line by 8:35. It is important that you handle all the details necessary to be ready to race by 8:35. You don't want to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off right before the race - you want to be calm and collected prior to the race start. While waiting for pre-race announcements & details, run through the following race plan in your mind. Review you reasons for running this race & generally get your mind right as the race start approaches.
THE RACE PLAN:
For all groups, the primary focus is running the fastest 10K possible on that day. Of course, in order to really be ready to take advantage of the course & your current fitness, you need a plan. What follows is a basic mile by mile guide to tackling the challenge ahead of you.
Position yourself conservatively. More races are ruined in the first mile of a race than anywhere else on a race course and usually this is related to poor positioning at the start. Know where you belong and start there - the Cap10K is a corralled race, making this part easy (as long as you were honest on your registration form!).
Since the first 2 miles are uphill, it is very important that you use caution at the start. Most of you have run a time trail and should already know what pace that correlates to in terms of a 10K. If you don't, then stop reading this essay & go directly to the ‘Pace Calculator’ on the front page of the Rogue website, plug in your 2-mile time trial and find your pace! Really, stop & figure out your current date pace for a 10K, this is the most important step in planning your best race strategy. Once you know your date pace for 10K, this should be the time you try to run for your first mile. If you are too fast, SLOW DOWN, even if you feel like a million bucks. If you go through too slow, do not react too quickly, just slowly work to pick up the pace and try to hit the next mile as close to your 10K date pace as possible. By the end of the first mile you should be settling into pace and relaxing. If you are really tired or tight, slow down a little bit and regroup - you have time.
You should be settled into the 10K date pace, through mile 4. If you are feeling excellent, feel free to pick the pace up 15 seconds per mile, but no faster, through mile 4.
If you are running slower that your projected 10K date pace, do not freak out - it may take you a little more time to get into race rhythm. Even if you find yourself 10-15 seconds per mile too slow, don't fret. Just try to find a rhythm & run as consistent a pace as possible. Since you haven't gone out too fast you should feel in control, and that is more important than anything else at this point.
The Final Mile
If you have gone out conservatively and at your date pace, you should be in a good place by this time. You will probably begin to pick off those impetuous runners who have not followed a race plan and gone out too fast. As you hit the 5 mile mark you should be running strong and hard. Do not sprint, just keep this steady, strong pace up until you see the finish line. Hold this strong pace all the way across the finish line. If you have a sprint left in you, use it, but remember that a finish line sprint means you've left valuable time out on the course, and should work on budgeting your effort more effectively in future races.
After crossing the finish line, get fluids & calories back in your system as soon as possible. Optimally, you'll want 50 grams of carbohydrates back in your body within 15-20 minutes. Once you’ve replenished the fluids and calories, relax for a little bit, then head out on the course and cheer in Rogues who are still completing their race. Make sure to get a cool down in after the race - the sooner the better, to avoid stiff muscles.
Enjoy it - this is what you've been working towards!