After a few training tips last week, we’re back with more advice from Ariane… our runner, not the queen of Run-gary or whatnot.Today, we learn more about what you need to bring on the day of the race.
Shoes are very personal. It’s really important to choose them according to the shape of your feet – if they’re flat, roll inwards or outwards – in order to have the right support. You have to be able to test them to see if they’re comfortable, but you also need to choose the right size according to the event. When running trails, you might want to choose something slightly bigger to avoid hitting the front of the shoe on descents. On roads, however, that isn’t necessarily a problem.
All these little details is why it’s so important to see a specialist in a sports store in order to get the best advice. You shouldn’t choose your shoes because of how they look or because some other runner wears them and runs well. It’s not the shoe that makes the runner, so you have to really choose something personal.
Clothes-wise it’s pretty much the same: you need to find what suits you best. Personally, I like shorts with a tight lining against the skin, because otherwise there can be friction against your skin. The same goes for loose-fitting or oddly shaped t-shirts, for both men and women. Therefore, it’s essential to choose clothes in which you feel good … including socks! It’s important to choose a pair with protective zones if you have sensitive feet.
In the bag
I’m not really in favor of bringing everything but the kitchen sink on a run, but there are often lists of mandatory equipment on endurance races and trails… rather long lists.
You often need a phone with the emergency number, but runners don’t usually carry first-aid kits. You sometimes have to pack waterproof clothes, a certain amount of water, food, a survival blanket…. It depends on the place really. Obviously, if you’re climbing a mountain pass, it’s pretty good to have an extra layer in your bag in case you get stuck at the top. So yeah, a phone is essential in the event you need help, but for the rest, I’m of the opinion that it’s each runner’s own responsibility.
It’s important not to drink only water. You also need other beverages containing sugar, different minerals, salt, magnesium, vitamins, electrolytes … All of that helps you recover what you lose through perspiration. It’s particularly important on long distances. If you’re doing a 10K you don’t need to bring any, because water will suffice for the race. But over a long distance, it’s imperative to meet your hydration needs… by that I mean water hydration, but also salt and mineral hydration … even if the sentence doesn’t really make sense.
Choice of food is also very personal, but it’s important to have quick-release sugars because you will immediately burn whatever you eat. It’s your fuel. For me, it can go from fruit jellies to pieces of fruit or cereal bars combining quick- and slow-release sugars.
It’s also important that you enjoy your food, so I sometimes eat peanut butter, which brings protein and sugar. You need to be able to digest the food, but it also has to bring you some pleasure. Some runners eat crackers, chips or even Haribo candy…. The food you eat should answer your needs, for example getting salt from chips or crackers. If you have strong cravings for sweet or savory at the end of a race, it means that’s what your body needs.
A good-luck charm?
I don’t have a particular lucky charm, but I do
have my habits. What I eat in the evening, what I eat in the morning, my little
relaxation rituals … but I don’t carry a symbolic object when I run.
I would take a cat if I could, but that wouldn’t really be very convenient, would it?