Whether you’re a novice or veteran runner, you know that preparation is key. Before any big race, it’s important to practice, practice, and practice some more to ensure you’ll be able to finish come race day. Atlanta is home to races throughout the year, ranging from 5Ks up to the Atlanta’s Marathon Weekend that takes participants through an array of Atlanta’s finest landmarks and neighborhoods.
While Atlanta could be called the running capital of America, it’s always important to remember that Atlanta is situated deep in the South, where temperature and humidity come into play, particularly in the late spring and summer months. For this reason, it’s imperative to stay hydrated and train in warmer humid conditions to simulate a real race.
In this article, you’ll pick up some helpful tips you might not have seen before to help you prepare for your next big race.
Before, during, and after a long running race, it’s vital to stay hydrated. Unlike sprinting, long running races are more taxing, thus they require the runner to consume adequate water to remain hydrated. Since Atlanta gets hot and humid, the environmental conditions play an even larger role in hydration status.
Most people are accustomed to drinking popular sports drinks such as Gatorade to replenish lost electrolytes. However, have you ever considered relying mainly on water instead? After all, the human body is made primarily of water, not Gatorade.
Over the past several years, alkaline water has become more popular among athletes, especially in the NBA. What was once unorthodox is now commonplace. In 2018, Bleacher Report dedicated an article to alkaline water’s emergence in NBA locker rooms.
Alkaline Water and Running
While it is great to see super-athletes recommending alkaline water, it’s also important to know that there’s no definitive results showing that alkaline water is the Holy Grail of hydration.
Consequently, it’s important to beware of sales pitches slung by popular bottled alkaline water brands. The important thing is to use common sense because there is enough evidence supporting the effectiveness of alkaline water for better hydration. To get an idea of the most trustworthy alkaline water brands on the market, click here for a helpful guide..
One of the benefits of alkaline water is its mineral content. Did you know that Fiji water is naturally alkaline? Another naturally alkaline water brand is Icelandic Glacial water. As for the most popular brand among athletes, Essentia Water currently holds that crown.
In case you’re wondering, the difference between Fiji and Essentia is that Essentia is ionized water rather than naturally alkaline water.
The bottom line is that runners may find that alkaline mineral water helps them prepare better, stay hydrated, and recover faster. As a result, alkaline water should be on every runner’s radar as a means to stay hydrated on race day.
After hydration, your diet is the most important thing to consider when preparing for your next race, especially if you plan to participate in multiple races throughout the year. One of the most recommended and beneficial foods for runners is the anti-inflammatory food category since running by nature can be hard on the joints.
Several of the best anti-inflammatory foods for runners that are also a good source of healthy fat and calories are avocados, salmon, fish oil high in omega-3, and extra-virgin olive oil.
A handful of low-calorie options include kale, ginger, turmeric, beets, fresh herbs, and blueberries. All in all, you’ll notice a pattern here: all of these foods are common in healthy diet plans.
Beware of Low-Carb Diets
Carbs are not the enemy, or are they? If there’s one thing that’s common in each fad diet that pops up for weight loss, it’s that the consumer must reduce carbs. If this is your first race, and your goal is to shed a few pounds, you will most likely find value in the trending ketogenic diet.
However, when it gets closer to race day, carbs are a great source of fuel. One interesting argument contends that carbs are not essential for long races since the body can be fueled by fat and ketones alone. Yet, the more convincing side of the argument by James Fell, a runner & author, states that carbs provide essential “quick-burning fuel” that fat alone cannot.
Regardless of which side you believe, it’s important to listen to your body and not experiment with any new low-carb diets near an upcoming race for optimal preparation.
Lastly, it’s important to consider historical weather in Atlanta since it differs drastically between the winter and summer months. For example, Atlanta’s most recent marathon weekend took place at the end of February, which is one of the cooler months in Atlanta.
According to timeanddate.com, temperatures reach highs of 57º with an average humidity of 65% in the month of February. Contrarily, temps push up to 90º and above in the summer months from June through August with roughly 50% to 60% humidity.
Ultimately, Atlanta is almost always going to feel humid despite the changes in temperature throughout the year. For travelers arriving in Atlanta to participate in races, it’s important to keep this factor in mind, especially if you’re arriving from drier parts of the country.
Nutrition and hydration status are both key when preparing for a long running race. Currently, the benefits of alkaline water for athletic performance hold merit both anecdotally among top athletes and scientifically to a lesser degree. Accordingly, it’s worth giving it a try to see how it makes you feel as you prepare for your next race. For instance, if you begin to notice that you have more energy and recover faster, then stick with it.
As for nutrition, it’s hard to go wrong by choosing anti-inflammatory foods that are full of nutritional value. If you’re someone who’s suffered previous injuries, these types of foods may be very helpful during your preparation and recovery phases. Lastly, be sure to weigh the pros & cons of low-carb diets for runners before embarking on one.