It’s another edition of Just Run, where each month a group of my running blogger friends gather with their tips, tricks and thoughts on all things running.
In case you missed the previous editions:
This month for Just Run, we are weighing in on things that runners do to improve their performance.
Is it worth it?
There are so many different theories on what will make a runner faster and stronger. Open any running magazine, online publication or blog (hi!) and there’s advice on what you need to do to end up on the podium or at least an age group win.
We are weighing in on what we’ve found in our own training.
Will giving up alcohol during training for a goal race make you faster?
I’ve had had training cycles where I didn’t drink at all and I have cycles where I drank normally (which is about 1-2 drinks/week, maybe more some weeks). I can’t say that I noticed a difference in performance. What I do know is that I skip alcohol the day/night before a hard workout. Even if I stay on top of hydration, I feel sluggish. It’s more because I don’t sleep soundly after having two or more drinks. I have powered through long runs in that state and it’s not pretty.
With everything, I think moderation is key. Alcohol is a stressor so even though you are having a drink to relax after a hard workout, it’s delaying recovery. If you are going to drink, make sure you are hydrated before. As a general rule, it’s probably wise to cut way back (or eliminate) alcohol at least a couple weeks before your goal race.
As for the post race drink, go for it. Although for me, I need a couple of hours before anything alcoholic sounds remotely good.
Should I run at the same time as when the race starts?
Most races start in the morning, anytime from 7-10 is the norm. I’ve run three races that started at non-traditional race times. I was told by multiple people to practice running around the start time to get my body used to it. It was also a way to plan out my morning routine of what to eat beforehand.
Was it worth it? Yes.
I’m used to training first thing in the morning before I’ve eaten anything. With two of the races that I did, Eastern States 20 Miler and the Boston Marathon, start time was 11:00 a.m. It’s a weird time especially when you’ve been up since 6 a.m. and have already eaten breakfast. But practicing what to eat for breakfast #1 and/or #2 and hydration needs helped immensely.
The other non-traditional race start time was Reach the Beach Relay. I was in van #2. We didn’t start running till early evening. And my second run was at 3 a.m. Now I didn’t run at 3 a.m. beforehand, I did try to vary my run times just so my body wasn’t in complete shock. But it did go into shock on my first leg and it had nothing to do with the run time but the latte I drank an hour before. Lesson learned: don’t drink a latte before a run if you aren’t used to drinking lattes.
Does drinking a cup of coffee before a run/race make me faster?
I’m really not the best person to answer this question. I like coffee but I don’t need it in the morning and I don’t drink it everyday. I know, I know…I’m a weirdo. When you are naturally bubbling you don’t need caffeine. Lol!
From what I’ve heard from friends who do drink coffee, YES, coffee before a run or race is needed. And the most important reason is because it makes you poop. There is research that says it does make you more alert and faster but my friends only report that it gets rid of Mr. Poopy which makes one less thing to worry about.
Is it worth it? Yes…if you regularly drink coffee already. If you aren’t used to coffee before a run, see my lesson learned about Reach the Beach.
I do want to add that every runner is different. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.
Want to see what my blogger friends have to say? Check it out below and be sure to click on the image or their name to get the details.