This post is rated Sprinters, Olympians and Ironman.
So I know you expected a 4 part “Every Moment Matters” series…I can’t blame you, after all that was my intent!
However, my last post reminded me of how important it is to master the art of the aid station.
The run is fun (that is, IF AND ONLY IF) you execute properly. By this point in the race you have expended a significant amount of energy at every distance. If you have even the smallest desire to finish strong, you are going to have to succeed on the run. Remember, ANYONE can start but only the strong will finish. When I say finish, I mean finishing strong with the feeling that you left everything you had out on the course.
The aid stations are the secret to your success in this late stage of the race. There is no question that you need what they are serving up, the only question is “can you master the art of the hand-off without slowing down!”
The purpose of this post is to outline the steps necessary to execute a successful aid station stop:
1. Yell (at the top of your lungs if need-be) exactly what you want. Most aid stations will have water, sports drink and cola. Begin your yell at least 20 yards ahead of the aid station.
2. Pick out the volunteer that you plan to hit and focus. Hopefully, the volunteers will have been prepped ahead of time on exactly how to offer you the contents of the cup held in hand (see photo below)
3. Slow down just enough to grab the cup…once in hand (I know this going to sound crazy, BUT…) pour enough out so that you can crease the top of the cup to create a spout. The last thing you want to do is miss your mouth by trying to drink an over-flowing cup of water/gatorade/cola. I can assure you that what misses your mouth will find your feet. Trust me, you do not want to be running with wet and sticky feet!
Here is a picture of the perfectly executed hand off:
AND THAT’S A WRAP…ace the aid station on your way to rockin’ the run!