Tips for the Trail – Bring Your Best Self to Nationals — XTERRA — 9-13-2013

Rachel C

By Rachel Cieslewicz

published on XTERRA September 13, 2013

Wow! Time is flying.  The 2013 season was full of XTERRA Trail Run races across the nation with hundreds of regional champions named.  It’s been a fun season learning what we are capable of both in training and races. New friends, a stronger, healthier body, and a happy heart spending time in nature are only a few of the many benefits of racing XTERRA events.

Rachel CIt is now the final countdown before the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.  Here is where all regional borders melt, dissolving into the culmination of one big National Championship 21K race where upon crossing the finish line, XTERRA athletes and spectators alike enjoy the honor of celebrating themselves and each other. We are all incredibly fortunate to experience the opportunity to “Live More” as we race in Mother Nature’s beautiful playground at Snowbasin Resort.

I look forward to toeing the line with all of you.  In the meantime I am in full taper mode. I am resting my body from a summer of hard work. Mileage is down with my most important workouts behind me. From this point forward there is much I can do to make 2013 XTERRA Trail Run Nationals a fantastic experience. There is also a lot I can do to hurt my race performance.

I want to share with you tips to ensure you perform your best come race day.

Sleep Well. If you have been lacking sleep, now is the time to catch up. It is well documented that runners and anyone in all genres wanting to perform their best cannot do so if they are sleep deprived.  Aim to sleep 8-10 hours each night to race day. This is when you fully heal and recover from all of your prior training and racing efforts.  Your body, mind and spirit will be fresh and full of energy with adequate sleep.

Choose Nutritious Foods. Racing and training tear our muscles down. Our ability to recover is how we become stronger and faster.  How well we take care of ourselves makes a huge impact on recovery. Nutrition is a big part of this. Eat many leafy green vegetables and other in-season produce.  Choose lean quality proteins.  Many athletes are afraid of fat. The fact is we need good fats to feed our nervous systems and most bodily processes. Look for quality omega 3 and 6 fats (I like Udo’s Oil). Drink at least ½ in ounces of your weight in water. Hydration taken in during exercise is in addition to this.  Following these simple guidelines will curb cravings and create a very healthy body.

Massage. This is a great way to assist recovery and avoid injury. Especially if you have any nagging aches or pains, seek out a quality sports therapist. It is well worth the money to take a preventative approach and avoid injury.

Trust Your Fitness It takes 10-14 days to fully experience the benefit of specific intense training. We are too close to the race to risk being tired for when it really counts.  Trust that you have prepared for your race. Don’t chance ruining your big day because you worry you have lost fitness and overdo it. It takes 2 weeks of doing nothing to lose fitness. Take an extra day off if you are tired. Otherwise shorter easy runs with a few wind sprints or other openers will help you retain snap and spring in your legs for your Championship event.

Be Positive. In sport and in life, a positive attitude goes a long way.  We all have good days. We all have difficult days. Our attitude can make all of the difference.  Practice each day beginning now to be excited about Nationals. Know you will do well and fly free and fast and strong. This is how you bring out your best you possibly never imagined.

Enjoy. XTERRA National and Worlds events are very special. The crew is top notch and the entire community from the volunteers and spectators, to the forest service, medical personnel, and of course the athletes are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. When you race with XTERRA, you become part of an incredible family. The energy and experience is proof of that. I look forward to seeing you on race day!

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in St. George, Utah. She is a past winner of several XTERRA Trail Run events, including the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Run, and placed ninth overall in the women’s field at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor, and is a certified running form and endurance coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com  or visit her website atwww.newageathlete.comor follow her onwww.twitter.com/newageathlete.