THE DAY OF
STICK WITH YOUR PLAN
Your nerves might be working overtime the morning of your event, but eating the way you’ve rehearsed can help settle your stomach and calm the butterflies. And if you’ve practiced beforehand, you’ll have a good idea of what your body needs. “It’s all about personal responses,” says White. “Some people can’t eat for an hour and a half before the event. Others can drink a cup of coffee and go for 10 miles.” The important thing, he says, is not to throw in any last-minute changes that can mess with your performance.
Think light with a good dose of carbs and sugars: a whole grain bagel with almond butter, a banana, and honey; whole grain cereal with a piece of fruit; oatmeal with almond milk, blueberries, and crushed walnuts; or an energy bar. Bananas are a popular race day fuel, and for good reason—not only are they portable, but the potassium can also help stave off cramps. “Two bananas, maybe three, and a jug of water,” says Thom. “When I started doing that, I had no more cramping issues on race day.”
REFUEL AND REHYDRATE
You’ll be hyper-focused on the course, but forgetting to fuel up at regular intervals can put your race—not to mention your health—in jeopardy. “After about 45 minutes, have a sports gel or Gatorade,” White says. Study the course map ahead of time to find out where the water or snack stations will be, and pack your own extras accordingly.
Be sure to drink and eat before your body sends out distress signals—that woozy feeling is known as “bonking,” and it means you’re fading fast. “If you start feeling thirsty during a run then it’s already too late,” says Thom. “You’re already dehydrated.”