BY: DR. THEODORE STRANGE
Last year's run started off at Fr. Capodanno Blvd.
It’s almost here. After all your training, the Advance’s Memorial Day Run is just a mere seven days away.
While it’s natural to have pre-race jitters, there are ways to combat those butterflies in your stomach. It all boils down to realistic expectations and planning ahead.
First off, set an attainable goal of finishing the race (whether by means of running or walking). Don’t worry about breaking records; this run is all about you. However long it takes, this will be your personal best and you can make it the time to beat for your next race.
Get familiar with the race course — which starts on Father Capodanno Boulevard, turns onto the beach promenade and finishes on the boardwalk — by doing one of this week’s training workouts on it. Knowing where you are on the course gives you a point of reference for how much further you have to go.
Don’t fuel up on a big bowl of pasta the night before the race. Carb loading is unnecessary for a four-mile race and only will result in you trying to run with a stomach full of half-digested pasta sloshing around. Instead, eat a regular portion of what you would normally eat at dinner.
Race morning, eat a light breakfast such as a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries, a piece of toast or half of a bagel with peanut butter or a banana (See Week No. 2’s advice). Finish your breakfast at least two hours before the race. Stop drinking water about a half hour prior to race time.
Warm up about 30 to 40 minutes before the race begins by walking five minutes, jogging five minutes, picking up the pace for five minutes and walking five minutes.
Line up for the race near the back of the pack where the mood of runners tends to be more relaxed. Additionally, try to position yourself near the side of the pack so you can edge over to take walking breaks if needed.
When the run begins, remember that this is your race. Just because the runners around you may take off at fast pace, it doesn’t mean you have to keep up with them. Your goal is to finish.
Monday: Walk five minutes (warm-up), run 28 minutes, followed by walking briskly for one minute. Then, run four minutes and finish with a five-minute walk (cool down).
Tuesday: Walk five minutes (warm-up), run 18 minutes, followed by walking briskly for one minute. Then, run 14 minutes and finish with a five-minute walk (cool down).
Wednesday: Walk five minutes (warm-up), run 30 minutes, followed by walking briskly for one minute. Then, run five minutes and finish with a five-minute walk (cool down).
Thursday: Walk for 35 minutes at a comfortable yet brisk pace.
Friday: Walk five minutes (warm-up), run 20 minutes, followed by walking briskly for one minute. Then, run 15 minutes and finish with a five-minute walk (cool down).
Saturday: Repeat Thursday’s workout.
Sunday: Rest or walk 30 to 35 minutes at an easy pace (your choice).
At this point, you need to congratulate yourself for getting up off the couch and joining the human race. But don’t stop now; you’ve just begun. Let this be the start of your road racing/walking season.
The Memorial Day Run is part of Staten Island road racing’s Triple Crown, which includes the 5K (3.1 miles) Jeff’s Run on June 17 and the five-mile Arielle Newman/Pepper Martin Run on July 4. For information about those and other runs, visit sirunning.com.
In closing, I hope you’ve enjoyed your training with me as much as I’ve enjoyed being your trainer. I look forward to seeing you on the streets and at the races.
Dr. Theodore Strange is the associate chair of medicine and vice president of medical operations at Staten Island University Hospital South. The hospital is a corporate sponsor and partner with the Advance for the Memorial Day Run. Both organizations encourage Islanders to get in shape and run the race next Monday.