Maybe you want motivation to exercise more consistently. Maybe you were inspired by your cousin’s hilly 100-mile bike race. Maybe you just watched a documentary on UltraRunning Whatever the reason, Polar Bottle is here with a couple of tips and tricks to properly prepare for a long distance race.
Consistency is key, so it is better to run, bike, or swim for 20 minutes a day every day than try to run for an hour only to be too tired to keep it up the next day. If you can only handle 30 seconds before needing to walk or take a break, that is okay. As long as you keep at it, eventually you will be able to reach your distance goals.
Certainly building up your distances is important, but to get the best possible results, add in some speed and strength training. You will want your muscles to be as strong as possible to keep your body injury-free and to get the most out of every stride, stroke, or pedal
Your muscles need time to repair themselves, so don’t push yourself every day. At least once a week give your muscles an easy day. If you feel any sharp pains or other signs of injury, adapt your workout plan and take some time off. You don’t need to lay in your bed or sit at your desk all day—take a walk through the neighborhood or take a gentle yoga class to reinvigorate your body.
After you work out, you may want to grab a shower and head straight to the couch, but make sure you take care of your body first. In order to repair your muscles more quickly, there are several post-workout activities you can do. Stretch right after you work out, then roll out knots in your legs with a foam roller, tennis, or lacrosse ball. If it has been an especially tough workout, take a 5-10-minute ice bath.
If you aren’t sleeping enough (6-8 hours a night), it takes a toll on your body during the day. Regularize your sleep schedule so you are in bed at roughly the same time every night.
Long-distance athletes need a lot of carbohydrates, especially before a workout. A 3:1 carb to protein ratio is best for before a workout, and if you are out for more than an hour and a half you will want a sports drink or energy gel as refuel after a certain point. Make sure to eat as quickly as possible after you finish, and eat a well-balanced meal within the next hour.
Whether it is sports drinks or just plain water, make sure you are getting enough every day. Weigh yourself before and after a workout to make sure you replace those fluids, and if it is an especially sweaty session get in plenty of electrolytes as well. Carry a bottle with you on the workout if you think it will be hot, and keep your water insulated in a Polar Bottle sports water bottle.
If you have trained well in advance before the race, there is no need to work hard the week before. You will not get more in shape in a week, so it’s best to take it easy, let your body rest, and prepare to give it your all on race day. Make sure to get enough to eat the night before, and remember to keep your fuel light the morning of. Remember, it’s never a good idea to try anything new on race day!