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Day 3 in Stage Races: the turning point. How to face this decisive moment at best

When running in a stage race, the third day is the one that makes the difference: once the ``barrier`` of the third stage is passed the percentage of probability of being finisher rises dramatically.
Why? Is this common also to other races? – The answer is YES, and here are some pieces of advice to deal with the ``crisis`` that may occur on day 3.

Day 3 is the day in which the alimentation strategy comes to a determinant point. If you don’t eat well you might resist for 2 days of racing, but at the end of the third day, all the energies are gone. The lack of sugar will influence the motivation of running and you might feel sad or lose interest in finishing the race. The lack of proteins, vitamins, minerals will lead to cramps and low energy for carrying on. Eat well and balanced, especially the first days of racing and remember that after day 3 you have only 2 days and 3 stages left: the weight of your backpack will decrease every day.

Day 3 is the day of the full adaptation to the desert or of the breakdown: your body will get used to the different sleeping, environmental conditions and to the repeated physical effort. Running for 3 days on the sand creates a different muscular stress than running for 3 days on trails or asphalt. The best thing to do is always to start slow, especially if you are not used to desert running and sand: take it easy on day one and take familiarity with the desert, try to speed up some sections on day 2 and be steady on day 3. From day 4 you can try to speed up!

During Day 3 you enter in a new reality: 3 full days of desert will take you to a new routine, you will make new friends and change all the habits you have at home. Everything will be different: the way you wash, the way you eat and the people you interact with. No Facebook, no Twitter and no work calls. This can be a unique experience, and it is one of the aspects that will lead you to life lasting memories like from a completely different life. On the other side, if you don’t enjoy the change and take this changes as fun and part of the experience, you will be thinking about home, your Facebook updates and work all the time, and you will not be enjoying at best this unique adventure. The best thing to do is to forget to have a smartphone and work and to focus just on the race and on the desert life. You will get printed emails from your family and friends and the Facebook and website will be always updated in real time also with daily videos and pictures. No worries for your family! Just enjoy your race!

Stage 3 of Oman Desert Marathon is one of  the hardest stages of the race: now the runners are in the middle of the desert, far away from ant sign of human presence and surrounded by virgin sands and untouched nature. The competitors meet at 6.15 on the start line for the daily briefing and just after it, the race starts, at 6.30. Even if the sun will be still low in the sky, this region of the desert could have high rate of humidity and this didn’t help the runners. This is because the race is moving towards the Arabic Sea and the climate starts to change. The humidity on one side, makes the sand more compact and easy to run on, but on the other the temperature perceived is higher and this increases dehydration.  The 29 km of the third stage are characterized by a fast start of 2 km and then 3 difficult sections of soft dunes, with in between little sections faster and easier ground. The first checkpoint and refreshment is located at km 10,5 , just after a high dune and on an immense plateau. The horizon at the end of the plateau marks the beginning of the second challenging section and at the end of it, at km 20 there is another checkpoint and refreshment located just on the top of the dune.

A abundant meal and good rest after this stage are crucial to be ready for stage 4: the finish line is still far away!

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