Boston Marathon Winner Caroline Rotich’s Top 10 Tips for Running a 10K

June 14, 2016 Posted By: Mizuno USA

Caroline Rotich, champion of the 2015 Boston Marathon, takes her running seriously – and no day is more important than race day. After months of training and preparation, she does everything possible to ensure her best performance on the course.

With a personal best of 31:41 for the 10-kilometer distance, Rotich knows a thing or two about running 6.2-mile races.

Here are the tips she uses to stay on top of her game and go the distance:

1. Plan Your Meals Accordingly

It’s never too early to start thinking about what you’ll eat the night before and the morning of the race. While some prefer not to eat anything a few hours before a race, others need a small morning meal in order to avoid feeling famished on the course. Try experimenting a few weeks out with a morning workout to see what your preference is.

Also – make sure to eat a sufficient amount of carbohydrates in the days leading up to the race. This type of “carbo-loading” will ensure you’re able to perform at your very best. Be sure to steer clear of excessive fats and proteins, especially in the hours before the race.

2. Get Enough Sleep

No one wants to feel tired going into a race. But sometimes, it can be hard to fall asleep when there’s a big event the next morning. Do something relaxing after you eat dinner the night before – and be sure to avoid staring at computer or your cell phone for too long or consuming caffeine. These will only keep you up longer and make it more difficult to nod off when you want to. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep during the final two nights before a race.

 3. Hydrate

This one is crucial. Especially during summer races, your muscles will lose a lot of water over the course of 6.2 miles. It’s important to keep your body hydrated to perform at its best. Drink plenty of water the day before the race, and don’t neglect it on the morning of the race, either. Consume a comfortable amount of water at least an hour before race time so you’re hydrated but don’t feel weighed down.

4. Know Your Goals

For some, the main goal may be finishing the race. For others, a certain time or place may be the primary motivation. Whatever you’re racing for, plan for it ahead of time. Going into a race without any direction can be demotivating. Make sure you’ve established expectations for yourself and have something to shoot for. It may also help to have an ‘A’ goal and a ‘B’ goal, with the ‘A’ goal being more aspirational and the ‘B’ goal being more realistic.

5. Make Sure You Have The Proper Footwear

Depending on what your goals are, you’ll want to evaluate what kind of shoe to use for the race. Top competitive runners will wear lightweight, barely-there racing flats, but for some, a more cushioned shoe will do the trick. Visit a local running retailer to see what type of shoe is best for your feet. Once you’ve found the right pair, take them for a spin before race day. You’ll be glad you broke them in ahead of time, instead of risking any surprises during the race.

6. Wear the Right Clothes

Ever start a run and feel like you’ve got too much clothing on? Especially for summer 10Ks, you’ll want to figure out beforehand what the right amount of clothing looks like for you. Usually a dri-fit t-shirt or tank and a pair of shorts will do just fine, but you may want a visor or sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun and avoid squinting for the entirety of the race. Applying sunscreen before a race to protect your skin is always a good idea as well.

Experiment during your training runs – ideally at the exact same time of day as the race will be – to see what the temperature feels like and what clothing you’re comfortable with. Additionally, be sure you’re wearing clothes that don’t rub and cause blisters or irritate your skin. You don’t want to be halfway through the race and find out you’ve made that mistake!

7. Look At The Course Beforehand

Visit the race route several days before the event and do a training run on the course. Knowing what the race looks like can help you visualize how it’s going to play out. If you can’t make it there before race day, look up the course online. Oftentimes, the race website will have a map or even a video walk-through of the course.

8. Trust Your Training

The big day is here, and you’re standing on the starting line. It’s okay to be nervous – everyone is! But don’t be worried. You’ve done the work. Stay relaxed and take in the atmosphere. The pre-race jitters are a common occurrence, even for elite athletes, but knowing that you’ve prepared well for the moment can ease some of the tension.

9. Run Your Pace

Once you’ve started the race, be careful not to get caught up in the crowd. It’s easy to get boxed in by slower runners or go out just a bit too quick with the eager speedsters. Settle in, run comfortably and manage your own pace. Try to run the first mile in accordance with your goals and aim to maintain that effort for the remainder of the race.

10. Have Fun!

This is arguably the most important part of any race. Enjoy yourself and have a good time. There’s no better way to spend a day than running a 10K!

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