Running with the Hayneses

Tri Talk Tuesday: Race Prep on Race Morning

 

It’s time for Tri Talk Tuesday! I’m linking up with CourtneyMiranda, and Cynthia and they’ve selected the theme “Race Prep”. I’ve talked on my blog before about how I prepare for a race and the  packing list I use.Today though I’m going to talk specifically about race prep on the morning of the race! Race morning can either be very stressful and rushed, or it can be methodical, relaxing, and a confidence-booster. Your choice. :) I choose to be prepared and have race morning go smoothly. Here’s what I do:

On race morning, I set my alarm for 30 minutes before I need to leave the hotel (or my house). For any race, I plan to arrive two hours prior to my wave start. I carry everything I need in my trusty TYR triathlon bag and pack it the same way for every race so that it’s easy to find what I need.

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Upon arrival at the race site, here is what I do in order:

-Bring my bike into transition (if it hasn’t been checked in the night before).

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-Rack my bike and shift through every gear to make sure it is shifting smoothly.

-Mix my fuel in my bike bottles and place them in their holders. You can check out what I use for fuel and nutrition during a race here.

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-Rest my helmet and sunglasses on my handle bars.

-Lay my towel under my bike in my transition section.

-Place my bike shoes & socks toward the front of the towel, with my gel flask right beside them.

-Behind the bike shoes, I place my running visor, handheld water bottle (which contains frozen water), and race bib.

-After everything is set up, I strap on my timing chip (if applicable), grab my shoes, and head out for a 10-minute warm up jog. This jog is purely to calm my nerves. A 10-minute jog an hour and a half before the swim of a triathlon does very little to get yourself ready for the run several hours away, but running relaxes me, so that’s what I do.

-Next is a port-a-potty stop! If I can, I’ll run along the race route during my warm-up jog and hit up a port-a-potty along the route. It works out nicely, because it’s CLEAN, and there’s no line! If not, there’s plenty of time to wait in line after I get back to transition.

-After the jog, I head back to transition, put my shoes & socks back in their spot, and get my swim stuff ready.

-Prep to leave transition for the last time before the race start. Bring my triathlon bag, wet suit, cap, & goggles with me.

-Take a few pre-race pics. :)

John and I before the start!

-Maybe hit up the port-a-potty again.

-Put on my wetsuit, cap & goggles

-Pre-race swim. I don’t have a hard and fast time that I like to warm up for. I just swim around a little, make sure I’m comfortable in the water, practice sighting, and review the course in front of me.

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-After the warm-up swim is over, I usually have some time to spare, so I wait around, relax, talk to people, review my race plan in my head, visit the port-a-potty again, eat a last-minute gel, ect.

-Then I line up in my swim wave, focus on listening to the music that’s being played (it relaxes me), stretch my shoulders a little, walk up to the swim start, take a deep breath, and jump in!

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Do you have a typical pre-race routine that you do?

How early do you arrive to your race?

When To Replace Your Running Shoes

 

I knew that my Hokas were getting pretty worn out and needed to be replaced, but I’ve been holding out because I wanted to test out alternative options before I committed to another 500 miles in Hokas. :) Then Saturday came, along with my planned 16-mile run, and as I surveyed my footwear options, I realized I really didn’t have any good options. I settled on the Hokas, knowing they were well past their prime, but hoping they had one more long run in them.

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They did not. By the end of that run my feet were killing me, and I knew that I had waited too long to get new shoes. I promised myself that I would never run another step in those shoes, and to reinforce that decision I threw my shoes straight into the garbage can as soon as I got home. :)

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I don’t have strict guidelines for how many miles I put on my shoes before replacing them, but I do try to keep track of their mileage because it gives me a rough idea of how soon I’ll need to get new ones. I generally find that my shoes wear out somewhere between 300 and 500 miles. However, some people can get away with many more miles than that if they are very lightweight, are light on their feet or run on soft surfaces. It’s much more important to pay attention to how the shoe feels and what condition it’s in than the number of miles it has on it.

The only part of your shoe that’s really going to have an impact on your biomechanics, and thus affect your risk of injury, is the midsole. The midsole is the thick layer of foam designed to absorb shock and provide pronation support. This foam compresses over time leaving you with a thin, lifeless layer that no longer offers any cushion or support. Here are some ways to gauge how much life is left in your midsole:

1. Look for compression wrinkles in the foam on the outside of your shoe.

“A running shoe with 200 miles or more on it will feel different than a brand new shoe because the midsole gets compressed from dozens and dozens of runs. After such use, this compression creates visible lines or wrinkles in the midsole that are easily observed from the side of the shoe. This is normal wear. But as the midsole gets more and more compressed, the number of compression lines increase and come closer together. When this occurs, the midsole has lost most of its ability to cushion.” source

2. Do the press test.

“Using your thumb, push on the outsole upward into the midsole. With new shoes, it should be easy to see the midsole compress into lines or wrinkles. As the shoe wears down, the midsole compresses less with the same amount of pressure. When the midsole shows heavy compression lines and the press test reveals a minimal amount of compression, there is little or no cushioning left.” source

3. Pay attention to how you feel during and after your run. 

If you start having abnormally sore feet, achy joints or tired legs, this could be your body reacting to the stiffness of the midsole. Be aware that if your body is putting out distress signals, continuing to run in those shoes could significantly increase your changes of injury, so you should replace them immediately.

Here’s a chart to give you a general guideline of when you should expect to replace your shoes:

General Rule Based on 500 miles

You run:
Replace:
2 days/week Once/Year
3 days/week Every 8 months
4-5 days/week Every 6 months
6-7 days/week every 4 months

If you are heavier or heavy on your feet (there is a difference), take 2-3 months off your replacement time. For instance a heavy runner running twice a week should replace shoes every 9-10 months. source

My new shoes should be landing on my doorstep this afternoon, and I can’t wait to take them out for a run and bask in all their springy, cushion-y glory!

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How often do you replace your shoes?

How do you know when they’ve reached the end of their useful life?

Weekly Training Recap: 07/27/14

 

I got in a good amount of mileage this week on both my feet and my bike, and I feel really good about that. I’m still a far cry from being in the kind of shape I’d like to be in, but I’m hoping that isn’t far off at this point.

Sunday: Sleep

We got home from the VT100 at about 5:oo on Sunday morning, so we spent a good portion of the day sleeping. :)

Monday: Bike Commute (16 Miles) + PiYo (50 mins.)

Since I was running into the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning, I decided to take it easy on Monday and not do any running. Instead I tried out a PiYo workout for the first time. I did this one:


It was a good recovery day workout, but I didn’t think it was intense enough to be a good cardio or strength workout, so I probably won’t be making this part of my regular rotation.

Tuesday: Bike Commute (16 Miles) + Swim (30 mins.) + Run (5 Miles)

It was a super hot day, so Peter and I went for a swim after I got home from work, and then ran in the evening after it had cooled down to a respectable 78 degrees. Note to self: do not run by the river in the evening or the black flies will drive you insane!

DSC02901 Wednesday: Bike Commute (16 Miles) + Run (7 Miles)

88 degrees today. I know that’s not bad compared to some places, but the humidity was super high, and I have a very low tolerance for heat. Peter and I ran these 7 miles in the dark because I refused to run until it had cooled down. :)

Thursday: Bike Commute (16 Miles) + Run (8 Miles)

This was the most glorious day of the week: 74 degrees and no humidity to speak of. Perfect weather for running!

Friday: Bike Commute (16 Miles) + Run (5 Miles)

Saturday: Run (16 Miles)

This was a TOUGH run. I felt really tired on the hills, my feet were killing me because my shoes are worn out and the deer flies were VICIOUS!!! The good news is that neither of my achilles or my plantar fascia bothered me at all, which is a huge improvement and definitely a good sign that my PT exercises are helping!

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Plus there were some really pretty views!

Training Totals:

I biked 80 miles, ran 41 miles, swam for half an hour and did a 50-minute PiYo workout, plus I would guess 30-60 mins. of PT every day. I am determined to be ready to run strong and injury-free this fall! Next week we’re doing 25 miles on a trail that we’ve only partially run once, so I’m looking forward to that new adventure!

Our Fall Trail Running Adventures

 

You know Peter and I are planning a great trail running adventure when our living room looks like this:

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Or in this case, several adventures! I’ve been reluctant to sign up for any big races this fall because of the catastrophe that happened this spring (missed 4 races and deferred another one because of a debilitating injury), but I wanted to have something exciting to look forward to and train for, so I’m planning some pretty epic runs for the next few months.

August: For our first big adventure, we’re going to head up to the White Mountains to run the Pemi Loop. This is a 31.5 mile loop around the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The route will take us up and over 8 wide-open 4,000+ ft. summits for a total of over 9,000 feet of elevation gain. This route has been touted as the second-hardest day hike in America (the first being the 40-mile Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood in Oregon) by Backpacker Magazine. All that should give you a good idea of why we want to run this trail. :) The AMC’s White Mountains Guide lists this loop as a 20-hr. hike, but we estimate that we can run it in roughly 10 hours.

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September: Next up is a two-day run on the Sunapee Monadnock Greenway. We did the northern 30 miles of this trail last year, so this time we’ll be venturing further south to cover the territory from Pitcher Mountain to Mount Monadnock. Our plan is to set up camp at one of the huts at the halfway point of the section we want to cover (close to rt. 9 on the map below), then on our first day do an out-and-back to the north, spend the night at the hut and on the following day do an out-and-back to the south. This trail won’t be nearly as difficult or have nearly as much elevation change as the Pemi loop, but the big challenge here will be running two 20-milers back-to-back.

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October: Finally, we want to cap off our adventures with a 3-day run totaling 60 miles. Our plan for this is again to utilize a centrally-located campsite and do out-and-back routes from there so that we can do it unsupported without having to carry a ton of gear while we run. Our plan is to camp where the Sunapee Monadnock Greenway intersects with the Sunapee Ragged Kearsarge Greenway (where the “start” is on the map below), then we’ll do consecutive out-and-backs on all three trails that branch out from there.

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I’ve got a lot of work to do to whip myself into shape over these next few weeks in order to be ready for the Pemi Loop! It’s not going to be easy, but I’m happy to have a purpose to my running and a challenge to push my limits!

What are your racing or non-racing plans for the fall?

Tips for Riding in the Rain

 

Yesterday a friend was talking to me about her upcoming race this weekend and was worried because the forecast is calling for rain. She asked me if I had any good tips for biking in the rain. I gave her a few suggestions, but I don’t really have a whole lot of experience to draw from. I’ve only ever raced in the rain twice, and neither time really bothered me because it was light rain. So I helped her do some research on the internet, and we found a couple good articles. These two were the ones I found the most useful—-> 10 Tips for Riding in the Rain and How to Race a Triathlon in the Rain. This research came at a convenient time for me, too, because as we were discussing how to ride in the rain, I was prepping for an afternoon ride at a time when there was a strong chance of showers! It didn’t end up raining on me, but at least I was prepared! After preparing for a rainy ride, doing some thinking about my own rainy races, and reading these articles, here are my top 10 tips for biking in the rain:

1. Prepare for the worst.

Be prepared mentally for anything from sprinkles to an outright downpour if the forecast is foreboding. On the other hand though, try not to obsess about the rainy forecast. Check the weather a couple days before, then on race day (or the night before), and make plans accordingly. Worrying about it won’t help you, and it definitely won’t change the forecast.

2. Be flexible.

One of the articles I read emphasized the importance of adjusting your racing/riding strategy depending on the weather. Don’t act like a robot and race the same way you trained; be careful and willing to adapt to changes.

3. Wear clear sunglasses lenses and treat them with Rain X.

I’ve always used clear lenses when biking in low light or rainy conditions, but I’ve never tried Rain X on them, so I’m excited to do that next time!

4. Lower your tire pressure.

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When riding on bumpy roads, it’s helpful to have slightly less tire pressure in your tires. The same goes for wet roads. When it starts raining and puddles form on the roads, it makes the roads slick. Less tire pressure will help you have better grip on the road.

5. Put tires on your bike with slightly more tread.

I usually don’t bother switching out my tires, but I know they don’t have a whole lot of tread, so if you are a nervous rider in the rain, you might want to go with a tire that has more traction.

6. Turn with your body, not your bike. 

Riding in the rain during my 1/3 Iron Triathlon last year.

I had never thought of this before, but I tried it yesterday, and it helps so much! We were riding on wet roads with a little gravel on top, so traction was less than ideal. We were also doing hill repeats, which meant biking DOWN the hills as well. Of course, the hills had tight corners too, so I used my body to lean into the turns, and it made my turns go so much smoother. Also, I didn’t have to worry about my tires skidding out from under me! Along with this tip is another one–don’t ride your brakes, just pump them. It will save your brake pads, and it will keep you from skidding on a steep, wet hill.

7. Consider wearing/using different gear. 

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If it’s not a super hot day, you may want to wear a biking jacket, especially if you’re already wet from the swim and likely to get chilled.

Also, consider wearing biking gloves. This will give you more control on your handle bars, and you won’t have to worry about your hands sliding off them as they get wet from the rain.

8. Prepare for post-ride.

Whether this is a training ride, or a triathlon, you need to prepare for post-ride/race. In the rain, you’ll cool down a lot quicker once you stop moving. Pack clothes to change into afterwards and a towel to dry off with. I do this for any race even if it’s close by, but I’m the kind of person who immediately gets cold after finishing a race.

9. Carry your essentials in a plastic bag (or a waterproof container).

Another use for the trusty tennis ball holder!
Another use for the trusty tennis ball holder!

If this is a training ride, you’ll likely want to bring your phone with you. Putting it in a plastic bag (or tennis ball holder) will keep it from getting drowned! Also, if you have any energy bars, it might be nice to keep them from getting water-logged!

10. Relax and have fun!

The rain may be a blessing in disguise because it will help to keep you cool, and you will go into your run feeling more fresh! I’ve raced twice in the rain and enjoyed it both times. If you’ve prepared for it, you’ll be fine!

Have you ever raced or ridden in the rain? What tips do you have for safely doing so?

10 Running Essentials I Couldn’t Live Without

 

I got the idea for this post from Janae at Hungry Runner Girl who wrote a post yesterday called “10 Fitness Things I Can NOT Live Without”. I thought it was a fun post, and it got me thinking about the running essentials that I can’t live without, so I decided to make my own list.

1. Pro Compression Low Trainers

As an ultra runner, I am super picky about my socks and shoes because happy feet are the key to an enjoyable long run. I started using Pro Compression’s Low Trainer socks over a year ago, and I have never looked back. I wear them every day, whether running or not, because I love how they feel. What’s most impressive is that even with the wear and tear of daily use and long trail runs in all sorts of bad conditions, my year-old socks still don’t show the slightest sign of wearing out.

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2. Smartwool Socks

In the winter when it’s cold and my feet are likely to get wet, I wear Smartwool socks instead of my beloved Pro Compression socks. These socks don’t feel as nice as the compression socks, but they are a lifesaver when it comes to keeping my feet dry and warm in nasty conditions. Also, I like the higher ankle because it covers that gap that you usually get between tights and socks so my ankles don’t get frostbite! I have had trouble with these wearing out even though I don’t wear them nearly as much, but Smartwool warranties their products so I get them replaced for free!

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3. Road Runner Sports Compression Shorts

These shorts are the answer to all your leg chafing problems. I get the 6″ shorts because they don’t ride up like the shorter compression shorts do, and this brand sells for a much more reasonable price than similar shorts from the big name brands.

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4. Garmin 

I’m not a slave to my Garmin stats–in fact, I hardly ever upload my runs to the computer or even scroll through the data on my watch after I run. What I DO value is the ability to keep track of my mileage on the trails. My GPS isn’t always super accurate, especially on trails with lots of switchbacks, but it gives me a better idea of how far I’ve gone than just simply guessing at my pace and estimating the distance by time.

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 Stats from one of the sections I ran with Jaime at the VT100

5. Hokas

I’ve tried LOTS of shoes and haven’t found the perfect one yet, but these are as close as I’ve come. I’m sponsored by Hoka and hope to continue that relationship unless I find a better shoe. So far none of the other competitors in the maximal cushioning department have made the cut. :) That extra cushioning is a must for me and has made my long runs 1,000 times more comfortable. I honestly don’t think I’d be an ultra runner anymore without these shoes.

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6. Hammer Nutrition Products

You all know I’m also sponsored by Hammer Nutrition, and this isn’t meant to be an ad for them or any of these other companies, but I cannot say enough good things about their products. The two that I value the most would be Perpetuem, the perfect fuel for those long runs, and Recoverite, to help speed the recovery process afterward. Honorable mention goes to their gels because I’ve tried lots of different brands of gels and have never had one that tasted as good or digested as easily as Hammer gel.

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7. Nathan Hydration Pack

I started out with a Camelbak pack, but switched to a Nathan pack because I heard so many good things about it. I literally don’t even notice it on my back, it doesn’t shift from side to side or up and down as I run, and I love the pockets on the front for carrying my camera, gels and bars. I will say that I’m not a fan of the Nathan bladder and nozzle–I find them both difficult to use, but I solve that problem by using my Camelbak bladder in the Nathan pack. It works out great!

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8. Brooks Utopia Softshell Jacket

Sitting here in the heat of the summer, I almost didn’t even think to include some of my winter must-haves. :) This jacket perfect for super cold runs in the dead of winter. I also wear it a lot even when I’m not running because it’s a good all-around jacket for any activity or even just a casual night out.

DSC02545 9. Brooks Nightlife Clothing

I have a vest, ear warmer, gloves and several long-sleeve shirts from this line because I love how bright and visible the colors are. I wear them for biking and running, particularly in the winter so that I’ll stand out more to motorists when visibility isn’t as good.

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10. Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

I prefer using a headlamp over a flashlight because I like to have my hands free, and this headlamp is super bright. I use it mostly in the winter when I have to run in the dark because of the short days, but also during ultras that start before dawn or go all night. The only bad thing is that it goes through batteries quickly, so I carry a spare set if I’m using it for more than a few hours at a time.

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What are your running/fitness essentials? I’m always interested in checking out new products, so leave me a comment with your own list!

 

 

Tri Talk Tuesday: Support Crews

 

It’s time for Tri Talk Tuesday! This week CourtneyMiranda, and Cynthia have decided to talk about support crews!

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I personally am a FIRM believer in having a good support crew! Seriously, it can often make or break your race. They are especially helpful in ultra marathons, because they can actually give you aid along the course, but they are still vital in a triathlon-especially a long-course triathlon!

My constant support crew is my family, specifically my husband and my parents. Ever since my husband and I started dating, he has been at EVERY SINGLE RACE of mine! It didn’t matter the race, the distance, the time, or the location; he has always been there. He has spent many a Saturday or Sunday getting up WAY before the sun, and many a long day driving me to the race site, helping me with my gear, giving me last minute advice, taking pictures of me, cheering me on through the race by walking/biking/driving to different spots to see me, scraping me off the ground at the finish line, helping me check out my gear, and driving me home at the end of the day. Seriously, I couldn’t do the races I do without him!

John and I before the start!

My parents are also a BIG part of my support crew. They aren’t always able to be at every race, but they have been at MANY of my races, and ALL of the important races I’ve ever done. They’ve traveled hours just to spend the day watching me race, cheering me on and congratulating me at the finish. Even the races that my parents haven’t been able to come to, they always support me from afar! They check in with me before and after my race, and have John send them updates while I’m on the course. They are seriously invested in every race I’ve ever done!

My dad and I at the finish of Syracuse 70.3.

In the marathons and ultra-marathons I’ve done, they’ve supplied all the race food, worked to re-fill my hydration pack at aid stations, brought changes of shoes/clothes for me, pieced me back together after bad races, and even spent much of their valuable vacation time at races.

My parents even took on the subway system of Boston to cheer us on at several points during the Boston marathon!

Last year, I was undertaking my biggest challenge yet–my 140.6 Rev3 Triathlon. My husband obviously went with me, but my parents and BOTH my sisters also traveled 10+ hours literally just to watch me race! They knew they wouldn’t get to spend much time with me, and the time they did have with me was before the race when I was nervous and stressed or after the race when I was just dead. But they still came! They also knew they wouldn’t get to help me during the race at all. But they still came. AND even though they couldn’t physically help me after the starting gun went off, their cheering helped IMMENSELY. Until you do a long-distance race, it’s hard to imagine how much seeing people you know cheering for you can lift your spirits and encourage you to press on!

My crew wearing their "Team Hannah" shirts to support me!

So, since I have the PERFECT support crew, I’ll list my top 5 “musts” in selecting a support crew:

1) They should have knowledge in the sport you are racing. (Example: If you are running a marathon, it’s helpful to have people on your crew who are also runners.)

2) They need to be legitimately INTERESTED in what you are doing! Seriously, there’s nothing worse than a bored support crew. I imagine they wouldn’t be very supportive. :)

3) Family members are best. They usually know you and what you need better than anyone else.

4) They should be prepared to map our their route themselves. Meaning they do their own research about the race route and find out what places they will be able to see you.

5) They should be prepared to do/see some unpleasant things. The very first race I did after John and I started dating was a 50k. I threw up at the finish line. He still helped me after the race, AND he didn’t get scared away! :) We’d only been dating 2 months at that point, but I think he figured out quickly what he was getting into. :)

Do you have a support crew for your races?

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