The 2012 35th annual Boilermaker is kicking off on Sunday, July 8, 2012. The 15K starts at 8am, the wheelchair race starts at 745 am, and the 5K Race at 715 am. That’s less than six days form now!
Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of the training runs and you’ve been working toward your time and distance goals. That said, the Carbone community has been involved with the Boilermaker for years, and we’ve banked up some pretty solid tips for your Boilermaker race success.
This should almost go without saying, but I’ve seen enough runners make this common mistake: it’s the day before the race and you want to get one more workout in. Maybe you’re antsy, or you’ve built up such a strong routine during your training months — either way, you hit the road for one last run the night before the race.
Don’t do this!
You might think that putting a few more miles in will help your conditioning, but at this point in the game your conditioning is what it is. The only thing a few extra miles the day before race will do is wear down your endurance. Think about it this way — you have only so much gas in the tank, and while running the night before won’t deplete your tank, it will take a few gallons out. You wouldn’t want to start a road trip (much less a road race) with anything less than a full tank. So don’t start the Boilermaker at anything less than Full. Rest up — even decrease your training load all this week.
There are two distances for the Boilermaker: the 5K is about 3.1 miles and the 15K is about 9.3 miles. Depending on your experience and fitness level, either distance can be a challenge, and this advice applies to both distances.
Since you’ve (hopefully) been training for the Boilermaker, you should have some idea of what pace you’re comfortable running. Your training pace should be just slightly slower than your race pace. For instance, if you’ve been at about 10 minutes per mile training at running 3 miles, your race pace should be around 9:50 to 9:35. Another principle you’ll want to keep in mind is the idea of a negative split. The idea behind negative splits is basically to run the second half of a run faster than the first half. That is, you’ll want to start out slightly slower and then increase your pace as your run progresses. To run a solid negative split calls for having a good amount of conditioning, since as you run you’re wearing down while also speeding up. But that also means you should start out slightly slower than your target race and and then increase your pace as the race goes on. The benefits of shooting for a negative split includes allowing for physical discomfort or tiredness; starting out slower than your target pace will decrease the odds that you cramp up or hit a wall.
3. Race Day
You’ve spent weeks — maybe months — training for the Boilermaker. The next fifteen minutes to two hours will decide whether all that work was worth it. But in between your training and the race, there’ before the race, there’s still a lot you can do to increase (or decrease) your chances for Boilermaker success.
Get to the race early. Pick up your race number and info packet even earlier — You can get all that stuff at the Boilermaker Expo this Friday, July 6, from noon to 7pm and this Saturday July 7 from 8am to 4:30 pm — both days at MVCC. While you can pick up your race number on the day of the race, don’t. You don’t want to be hurried or stressed out about the small things.
If you’re driving yourself to the Boilermaker, you can park right near the starting line or finish line. That means either by the ECR International building off the Arterial, by the corner of Dwyer aVe and Culver Ave. The FX Brewery parking is at Court Street, at the end of Varick. You can take a shuttle from the Brewery parking to the starting line; they’re running from 6am to 7am — get there early, though.
The Boilermaker race itself starts at 8am for the 15K and 7:15am for the 5K. Get there early! Again, you don’t want to stress out about parking, finding a good spot, meeting up with friends, or anything except for the race itself.
Once you’re at the race site, do some light jogging. Stretch it out a bit, and then run three or four 100 yard sprints. You won’t burn yourself up. Then get a good, deep stretch in. Make sure you’re hydrating this whole time. Then empty your bladder (if necessary) and get to the starting line. You should be ready to run.
After the race is over, you’re going to feel great. You should have both an exercise high and an emotional high from achieving an impressive goal. Party up, get in a celebratory drink, and load up on food.
The next day, depending on your fitness level, you may still be riding high. Add to that your regular training schedule, and you might want to get a little run in. You should probably not do this, though. That post-race high is overriding any negative signals your body may be sending you. Many race-related injuries actually happen after the race, from runners who are carrying over that adrenaline from the race day. Just chill out, relax, and if you really want to you can hit the road on Tuesday — the day after the day after.
Good luck, godspeed, and we’ll see you at the finish line!