Endurance events are a huge trend: over 17 million people finished a race in 2016. And that number only counts road races, not trail runs, triathlons, or other endurance sports. As a result of their increasing popularity, there are no shortage of training plans out there that will break down for you just what you should do to prepare for any given endurance event, from your nutrition to your heart rate goals.
We wanted to know some insider tips—to hear from committed endurance athletes what helps them finish their strongest—that you may not find in a training plan. These are tips you might learn from experience, or from chatting up a new friend during a race.
These tips might seem unusual, but our athletes promise they’re key to helping you feel top of your game during and after the event.
Skip the pedicure
Erica from Fashion Meets Food recently completed the Susan G. Komen 3-day (a 60 mile walk over three days!) and, among a wealth of knowledge about how to best prepare, had this gem to share:
DO NOT get a pedicure before the event. I highly recommend allowing your calluses to build up for 3-4 months before the event; it’ll help reduce the amount of blisters you get.
I love this advice because (a) it never would have occurred to me and (b) getting a pedicure seems in line with getting your body into the most tip-top, streamlined shape it can be before an event – so it’s helpful to know what kinds of self-care you should avoid.
Get your mind right
Todd Durkin told us this at BlogFest, and I don’t think we fully realized just how broadly this advice applied to everything.
Jamie, who has completed more ultra marathons than I can count, says:
“I find that the most challenging part of an ultra is the mental aspect, which applies to newbies and veterans, alike. It’s important to show up to the start line feeling positive, confident, and determined to finish. I’ve found that starting a race with negativity and self-doubt is like going out with 40 lb weights strapped to your back.”
Almost anyone can log the miles and complete a training plan; the real question is, can you show up to the race with the right energy and attitude to get it done, no matter what challenges present themselves along the way?
The whole point of training is that you’re as prepared as possible going into the race, right? Right? So, on race day, don’t mix it up. Coach Debbie says:
Never, and I mean never, do anything new on race day. That means don’t use a gel that you haven’t trained with, don’t use the carb drink they are supplying unless you researched and used it during your training. Don’t try something new for breakfast, and DON’T wear a pretty new outfit and new shoes.
Makes sense, right? Don’t let the excitement and energy of race day push you to bend this rule, even if one of the aid stations has an awesome looking new gel you want to try, or the race shirt is so cute you want so badly to wear it for the event.
What tips do you have to make the most of race day, and to perform your strongest at endurance events?