Long-distance races are not only a physical challenge, but also a psychological one. If you’ve been training well, you’ll notice that the first thing to fail will not be your legs nor your lungs, but your brain. Keeping focused during an entire race might be the biggest challenge, and although there is not one recipe to avoid boredom altogether, the nutrition experts at PROZIS do know a few tips that might help you:
Supplements with caffeine
Caffeine might be your best ally to improve cognitive function – that includes attention, psychomotor function, and memory. Supplements come in form of bars, gels, capsules, chewable tabs and sports drinks, so you can take them before and during the race easily. Effects are evident with the ingestion of 2-3mg/kg of caffeine. You can use the common strategy to ingest a dose ~3 mg/kg of weight 1 hour before the race, since the peak happens 1 hour after you take it, and then 1mg/kg every 1 or 2 hours after that.
Besides improving your cognitive performance, it will also give you the boost you might need to pick up the pace and “get back in the game”.
Habitual consumers of caffeine usually have similar performance effects as non-users so avoiding caffeine in the days preceding the race might not be needed. However, if you normally avoid caffeine, its acute consumption on the day of the event may have some side effects such as gastrointestinal perturbations, headaches, tremor, tachycardia and elevated blood pressure. Don’t forget to try it before so you know the side effects caffeine has on you.
Fish oil – omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA)
Besides decreasinginflammation, omega-3 fatty acids may also improve your cognitive function (reaction time and attention), having benefits for performance. Supplements exist in capsules. The daily dose is 1-2g of EPA and DHA.
The disadvantage of its misuse is that the anti-inflammatory effects may suppress the adaptations that enable our muscle to be stronger and more resistant to pain. And so, you need to know that although inflammation is a natural process, too much of it can be harmful.
Train your mind
When it comes to mental strength and the ability to keep going when things get tough, nutrition can make only a small difference, you have to train your mind with the following thoughts:
“One step at a time”
Try not to think about the long-distance you have to run, instead try to aim for a distance target you can visualize and when you reach it, focus on the next one. This will help you focus and monitor your pace even better.
“I can do it”
Avoid negative thoughts while you’re running. You have trained for months to do this race, you have done this distance many times before, face the race as one more training. When talking to yourself during the race you have to have an inner motivational speech that will give you the energy you’re missing when you brain starts to begging you to stop running. You could also ask your family and friends to show some support along the course. Seeing a familiar face giving you support might help more than you think!
Head over to PROZIS now for all your skyrunning nutritional needs and make the most of the top offers on selected products for the rest of the season.