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Dr. Herrmann's Race Day Tips, Part 1

Two runners on a training run
 

FSPH reached out to Associate Director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity (and seasoned runner) Dr. Alison Herrmann for some last-minute tips for runners preparing for the 2016 FSPH Race to Health. Dr. Herrmann ran in the charity relay at the 2015 LA Marathon in order to raise awareness about the health benefits of physical activity and to raise money for summer fieldwork fellowships for public health students. She was happy to pass on some of her favorite tips, which we've broken into two parts (you can read Part 2 here): 

PART I: Before the Big Day
"Don’t do ANYTHING new on race day."
  • Try a long run in the exact outfit that you plan to wear for the race – Make sure nothing feels awkward or rubs in funny ways. If it does, try something new. 
  • Figure out your pre-race breakfast by practicing on a few long runs – You don’t want to eat anything that leaves you feeling a little off, or worse, needing to stop at the port-a-pottys along the route (there often will be some food available at the starting line festivities, but be careful about eating anything that you haven’t already tried out on a run).
  • Find out what type of hydration and energy packets are being given out on the course and try them out on a couple of long runs. I once had a pretty miserable marathon that I largely attributed to eating a bunch of energy block jelly candies I had never tried before. If the ones they are giving out don’t work well for you, bring your own and/or have your supporters ready to hand some out to you on the course.
  • Be cautious about taking energy foods from spectators – they are well-meaning and many people will be on the course with pretzels, M&Ms, orange slices, you name it... but unless you are sure it won’t leave you feeling funny – try not to eat it!
"Study the course."
  • At the very least, look at the map available online and get to know where major elevation changes are coming -- a lot of distance running is mental, so it is super helpful to know what is coming and super disheartening to be surprised by a big hill you didn’t realize would be there.
  • If you can, drive the course beforehand – then you’ll have a really good sense of where things are, major landmarks to look forward to, etc.
"Make a plan with your supporters..."
  • ...and try to get them spread out on the course. It can do a lot to keep you going if you know that your mom is going to be standing there in the next mile, and the mile after that your best friend, and the mile after that your fiancé. You get the picture.
  • Also make a good plan about where you will meet up after the race. It’s no fun wandering around looking for your friends and family when you should be celebrating.
 

Read more marathon tips from Dr. Alison Herrmann

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