You’ve signed up, you’ve logged the training hours, and the big day—Saturday, February 20—is right around the corner. Taking on the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) to raise critical funds for cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center can be both an exciting and a challenging experience. Many of you have spent weeks or maybe even months training for this event. But the most important preparation should happen just days before. Here are a few tips about how best to prepare for the big day.
Seven days out, begin to taper off on your workouts. That week is all about resting your legs to make sure they’re ready to fire on all cylinders. Three days out, get your last good ride or run in. This gives you the confidence you’ll need. Two days out, it’s best to take the day off to store up all the energy you need in your legs. However, feel free to do a light workout the day before— just nothing too strenuous. But remember, save your energy because you’ll need it!
Pre-ride or run jitters often hit the night before, which can cut into your necessary sleep time. This is normal but keep in mind that the DCC is not a race and is meant to be a fun event. One day out, be sure to get enough sleep—a solid eight to 10 hours. This amount of sleep allows you to wake up with more than enough energy to get through the day.
When Saturday arrives, it’s time to fill up the tank. Fueling your body is a major key to success:
Regardless of what time your event starts, it’s wise to eat two to four hours beforehand. Great fuel consists of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, or complex carbohydrates. One to two hours before, eat a light snack such as low-fat yogurt or fruit. And just before you get ready to head out, fuel up with a quick piece of fruit or cup of fruit juice. These simple carbohydrates can give you a quick boost.
Since many will be pushing through a long ride, hydration is very important. Dehydration occurs quickly in the Miami heat and humidity, so fill up on the electrolytes and water throughout the ride and after the run. Another big key is fuel. Be sure to eat at the rest stops, whether it’s fruit, energy gels, cookies— you want to eat something to be sure you don’t hit a lull in your energy while on the road.
The ride or run is complete and you’ve pushed your body to its capacity. All your body wants to do is fill up the energy lost during the workout, so immediately after you finish, it is important to fuel yourself with a good meal. The best time to fuel up is within 15-20 minutes of completing the ride.
Although all these tips are very important to ensure your safety and success during the DCC ride or run, the most important tip to remember is to have fun! The DCC is a great event for participants of all ages to get out there and have a blast for a great cause—raising critical cancer research funds for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
If you’re still not signed up yet, please visit TeamHurricanes.org.