When our race gets close, instead of being a time of excitement, it can often be a time of great anxiety. There are those of us who just want to finish the darn thing, and we are terrified that we might not. Then there are those of us who have done a few and we have some expectations for ourselves. While no one else probably cares too much about our time or our place, we do!

Regardless of which category your fall into, it would be nice to run your best race.

It is always a bit disappointing to do worse than you did before. Don’t get me wrong, for all of us, there are times that a finish is a finish no matter how good we do, but let’s see if we can’t give you some tips to help you run your best race WITHOUT any extra training or cost!

5 Tips to Run Your Best Race

  1. Run easy uphill, fast down

We often do the opposite, right? We try to keep up on the uphill and then are so out of breath we almost stumble down the downhill. This time, trying going up the hill at a conversational pace and then fly down the downhill. This is called taking advantage of gravity. Do it. Slow on the up, fast on the down.

  1. Take walk breaks

This may sound totally backwards. Walk more to run better?   Obviously you can’t be walking the whole thing to do better unless you are a walker, but don’t be afraid to walk ESPECIALLY through the aid stations and ESPECIALLY if you have some sort of pain that starts to bother you at say mile 8. Walking will help you keep your form, which will hopefully keep that pain at bay; it provides a mental break, and a physical break to keep your heart rate down.  It also allows you to get in some water and some calories that you will need for longer races.

  1. Don’t watch your watch

This is a personal recommendation. I find that I do the best when I enjoy my run and run based on feel. When I look at my watch I usually start to process some sort of emotion that I don’t need to be processing. I start to tell myself some script that I don’t need to hear like “you should be running faster.” If I run in the moment and I enjoy it, regardless of if I am faster or not, I feel better at the end.

  1. Eat Breakfast

I know it sounds obvious, but you need to get some breakfast in you the day of the race. We are all tempted to skip because of nerves, but a good, low fiber breakfast will go a long way.

  1. Pace yourself

It is sooo easy to run to fast in the beginning. Check yourself. If you are running at a pace where you cannot speak full sentences in the first half of your race, you are running too fast. If you are huffing and puffing and thinking this is really hard in the first half of the race, you are running too hard.  Take it easy, hang on for the middle miles, and then re-evaluate.  Pacing is especially important in races longer than a 10k, but it is also important for shorter races as well.

No matter what your time or your place, slow or fast, first or last, we hope that you feel like a winner at your next race. Sometimes winning is running our best race based on time, but most often it is running our best race based on the best we could give on that day. And that is winning!