By PowerBar Elite Athletes Josh Cox and Desiree Linden
Each week, we receive tons of emails and tweets asking some variation of the following: “I’m running a marathon (or 10k, or half marathon) this weekend and I’m freaking out! Can you give me some advice?”
First and foremost, don’t freak out. Running a race is totally manageable as long as you’re prepared. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned runner, check out these tips from Powerbar Elite athletes Josh Cox and Desiree Linden to help you get ready for your next adventure.
Focus on food.
Carbo-loading is more than a big bowl of pasta the night before a race. Consider a more long-term approach, and add carbohydrate-rich foods in small amounts throughout your training.
Make a quick recovery.
The first 15-30 minutes after your training run is the best time to get in recovery nutrition. Plan ahead and have a shake, 20g PowerBar ProteinPlus, or healthy snack post-run to optimize recovery.
Drink like a champ.
A few days out from race day, consider carrying around an electrolyte drink and sipping it every so often. It is an easy way to take in fuel and stay hydrated.
Find out what nutrition will be available on the course on race day. If it doesn't work for you, pack your own fluids or PowerGel Energy Gels and carry them with you on race day.
No new friends…or outfits.
Wear what you are comfortable in and do not wear anything new on race day. Wear shorts, a singlet or tank, and shoes that you trust and know well. If you must buy a new racing kit, wash it first.
The day or two leading up to the race, do not get adventurous or creative with meals. Keep it simple with easily digestible foods, ideally those that are higher in carbs.
Eat on the run.
PowerGel Energy Gels make for great on course nutrition. They are easy to carry and you know exactly how much fuel you are getting in your system. Take with water vs. an electrolyte drink to keep your stomach happy.
Do everything the night before.
Pin your race number to your singlet or shirt, put your timing chip on your shoe, lay out your warm-up gear, and set two alarms. Race morning is stressful enough, no need to add to the insanity.
Don’t overdo it.
Start your race conservatively and when you feel good, don’t pick up the pace. The next time you feel good, don't pick up the pace. And the next time you feel good, don't pick up the pace. Get it? Once you’ve completed 3/4 of your race, you can let 'er rip!
We're not negotiating world peace! This is a race, so enjoy yourself. Write your name on the front of your singlet or race shirt. It works wonders for crowd support. Wave to the crowd and give high fives along the route. When you come racing down the final straight this becomes doubly important. And enjoy!
Josh Cox is a 4-time Olympic Trials Qualifier, 3-time National Team Member, and the American Record Holder in the 50k. In 2009 and 2011, his 50k were the fastest in the world.
Desiree Linden is a US Olympian, 2:22 marathoner, and was the top American woman at the 2014 New York City Marathon and 2015 Boston Marathon. This summer she earned the Silver Medal in the Pan-Am Games 10,000 in Toronto.