Tips for the Trail: XTERRA Nationals – Xterra – 8-22-2011

By Rachel Cieslewicz

published in Xterra 8/22/2011

Are You Ready For Nationals?

XTERRRA nationals are coming right up. You have just a few more weeks of training before a well deserved taper.  Now is the time to plan ahead so when race time comes all you have to do is wake up ready to fly.  The biggest details creating your best race ever are arranging travel now, dialing training and nutrition, catching up on sleep, and getting excited for an epic weekend of fun.

Travel to Ogden is easy. If you are flying, Salt Lake City International is the airport. From there it is a half hour freeway drive to the mecca.  Historic 25th Street in Ogden is where most of the parties go down. Trust me, just like the unforgettable XTERRA races the parties are not to be missed!  The host hotel is the Ogden Marriot. Book there if possible as you will be able to walk to restaurants and anything you need including packet pick-up.  The actual racing is 20 minutes up Ogden Canyon, which opens up to a gorgeous valley, and of course on to Snowbasin Resort.  Renting a car or carpooling is a great idea as I can only legally fit four hitchhikers in my 4Runner.

I strongly suggest arriving Friday morning at the latest so you have time to check out courses and pick up your registration packets. With XTERRA even packet pick-up is a not to be missed festival.  If you have kids bringing them is fabulous as XTERRA is all about family.  They will be delighted to compete in their own kid’s sprint and bike race as well as get a head start honing their XTERRA racing skills in the kids challenge zone.   While all that’s going on, you can multitask by getting your hair professionally cut by donating to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. The top pros in the country will be there to let you in on their race secrets when you attend the free XTERRA University sessions.

Once travel plans are dialed, come back to now.  How is your training? Ideally you should be within the last 2-3 weeks of your final workouts. How do you feel? If you are feeling tired, it is important to take an extra day or two of recovery. It is not worth pushing through and risking injury or overtraining.

Make certain you are eating lots of good whole foods. Big salads composed of a variety of local veggies drizzled with cold pressed oils and fresh lemon are amazing.  Serve it with lean, fresh off the grill protein and you have my favorite summer meal for creating a fast lean strong athlete.  Look at your nutrition now as what you put into your body is going to play out in your best National Championship race performance imaginable.

What about running nutrition? For your runs, practice eating as you would on race day. Knowing exactly what your body likes before, during, and after big runs will leave you confident and at your best when it counts.  This is very different for every one. Try many things now as race day is never a great time to attempt something new.

The last piece of the puzzle is sleep. In our crazy society sleep is often the first to go.  We are only able to push our bodies if we are recovered. Sleep is when this happens. Our body restores itself during sleep. Growth hormone is produced. Tissue is repaired and our overall batteries are in general given a recharge. My challenge to you is to strive for a minimum of 8 hours a night. You will be amazed how much energy you have if you will do this from now until race day.  It’s only a month out. See you soon in my back yard!

To learn more about the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, please visithttp://www.xterraplanet.com/xduro/nationals.html.

Rachel Cieslewicz is an elite runner and triathlete based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won the women’s division of the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas and Santa Cruz half-marathons this year, and placed fifth at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last December at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. She is a talented sports massage therapist, Pilates and yoga instructor and is a certified running form coach. She can be reached atrcanyon1@gmail.com or visit her website at www.newageathlete.com or follow her on www.twitter.com/newageathlete.