Over the past few years, all three of us have had different experiences with the Baltimore Running Festival. From cheering on the sidelines, to running the full marathon, to participating in a post-race event for runners. What we’ve come to realize it that no matter what you do, the day takes STAMINA.
But, it also takes a few other things…
But seriously, relax. Do not go to your regularly scheduled boot camp class the day before a big race! You don’t have to stay in bed all day, but make sure you get your rest! Often, you might not be able to sleep well the night before – and that’s ok! Just try to lay down, calm your nerves and get some rest! (And don’t forget to set your alarm!)
Getting ready for the race starts long before you lace up your kicks. Getting the right food and nutrients in your body can set you up for a more successful (and comfortable) race!
Race day morning: Before you head out, make sure you give your body the fuel it needs to run. You’re going to want some easily digestible carbs – one of your best bets is bananas. You could also go with some toast with/without a nut butter or oatmeal. (See below for our favorite go-to race day snacks!) Avoid fatty foods because they can sit in your stomach, making you feel full and heavy while you’re running. Also, make sure you drink enough so you’re not dehydrated along your run – water is great and/or electrolyte drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.
During the race: Eating things while running is typically by runners’ choice. Some people like to go through the full with only hydration and some need a little extra. They make gummies and gels for this purpose alone and they are typically portable and easy to eat. If this is your choice, we strongly advise that you can test them out beforehand to figure out what tastes and textures you like best.
After the race: You deserve that beer at the end of the race. You do. BUT make sure you get something to help you recover first (or at least along with it). Again, you’re going to want to get in carbs, but also try to get in some protein. And don’t forget your need to hydrate!
Post race stretching sessions is KEY to your recovery after a race. We are to help you find those places to stretch out:
Charm City Yoga: We absolutely recommend a more relaxing yoga for Sunday post race. Charm City Yoga has multiple locations and offers a bunch of Saturday evening and Sunday classes.
We love the community class that is only $6 Sunday evening, and we recommend level 1 or 2 to get your muscles back in order.
lululemon: This Sunday, Oct 19th at 9:30AM, lululemon Harbor East will be offering a special (free!) foam rolling class with one of our favorites, Jason Williams! The foam roller really helps to decrease inflammation and prevent injuries. It also helps you lengthen your muscles, all the while improving your posture, range of motion and flexibility!
Sanctuary Bodyworks: Every Monday night my all-time favorite yoga instructor, and lululemon ambassador, Nila Mechali leads a truly magical Yoga for Athletes class at Sanctuary Bodyworks in Fell’s Point from 6 -7pm. The energy that exudes from this class is truly amazing, as male and female athletes alike join together to dance on their mats. Don’t forget a towel- this is a sweaty one!!
The MAC: Amelia’s Tuesday 6AM Athletic Yoga at the MAC Harbor East will include lots of fun hip-openers this week, with a focus on stretching out your legs.
Ok…now learn from what I’ve learned!
Through our experiences, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks as well! Check out my thoughts below to help prep you for this weekend’s races, or another fall race you might be taking on! 🙂
I ran the Baltimore Marathon in 2011 as my first full marathon (accompanied a mile or so along the way by my always-smiling BMOREtoned co-founder Kate!), and vowed to never do a full again. Baltimore Running Festival participants please don’t be discouraged- I went back on my word and ran the Marine Corp Marathon last year in D.C., so clearly it wasn’t THAT bad! 🙂
If you’ve ever run thru Baltimore City, as I assume you have at some point if you’re running in the BRF, you know what you’re up against…let’s be honest, Charm City is DAMN hilly. Lake Montebello at miles 20 & 21? Not cool. That being said, the high I was on after surviving this race (yes, surviving is the accurate verb here) was one of the best sensations I’ve ever experienced in my life. The combination of pride, adrenaline, physical and mental exhaustion is truly unparalleled, and I can honestly say I am envious of everyone that will be feeling this way come Saturday morning!
Obviously, to run a full marathon requires a certain (quite possibly crazy) amount of self-discipline when it comes to training. It is a HUGE time commitment, and will undoubtedly affect your social life…unless you’re like my boyfriend, who can drink a few beers, eat a pizza and PR the next morning. I JUST DON’T GET IT! With the race being tomorrow, I’m going to assume you’ve trained to the best of your ability – and you know what, if you haven’t, that’s okay! That’s what your second marathon is for. 😉
Regardless, there are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way that can help make race day a great experience for you, regardless of what distance you’re running:
- Run the race you’ve trained for: If you haven’t taken GU’s, shotblocks or other performance-enhancements along the way, race day is NOT the day to experiment. Also, if you didn’t train with a running belt or handheld water bottle, the expo is not the time to splurge.
- What you eat Friday will fuel your run: There’s all kinds of suggestions out there, but for me personally a combination of healthy carbs and protein works best. I like to do whole wheat penne pasta with a light sauce topped with grilled chicken and a side of bread for dinner the night before a race- now is not the time to count calories! The Holiday Inn Inner Harbor hosts a Pasta Dinner, the Friday night before the race, open to everyone not just guests of the hotel, but I preferred to invite my running friends over for a homemade meal (SELF Magazine’s Penne with Tomato Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella), watch a funny movie and call it an early night. October just so happens to be National Pasta Month, so take advantage and use the opportunity to try one of SELF’s healthy & delicious pasta dishes!
- Don’t want until you’re thirsty to stop for water! Along the same vein, don’t want until you’re starting to feel low on energy to pop your first GU or Cliff Bar: ‘nough said
- Most importantly, ENJOY your run: Smile. Take a selfie. Stop for a bathroom break if you need to. Your first 26.2 miles takes awhile- for me, precisely 4 hrs and 17mins!
- Allow your body plenty of time to recover before rushing back to the gym- you’ve earned it! But do take the time to do a thorough stretch the next day…trust: Several studios we know of are offering great yoga programs next week specifically designed to help runners bounce back (see classes listed above!)
Best of luck to everyone racing this Saturday- we’re rooting for you! Please tag #BMOREtoned during your race day activities so we can check in and see how you did:)