You can add meals or snacks like a salted soft pretzel, spaghetti with extra salt in tomato sauce, or a bowl of rice with soy sauce to your daily total. Then, when your run is over, check out these tips to make sure you’re rehydrating properly too!
4. Test all of this beforehand.
If you’ve heard the phrase “nothing new on race day” repeated ad nauseam, just know that there’s a good reason for it: “You don’t want to rack your brains over this kind of test,” says Peralta-Mitchell.
That’s why she recommends practicing your race day nutrition and hydration plan ahead of time, in addition to your practice runs. Taking the time to experiment and determine your hydration intake, dinner the night before, as well as breakfast, lunch and snack on race day, will help your body acclimate to the change and give you a better idea of how you will feel in each moment.
5. Look into mental tools to combat end-of-day fatigue.
Because you will have a full day before lining up, you will likely be more physically and mentally fatigued during the competition. But if you focus on your motivation — again, something to practice during your nightly workouts — you’ll be prepared to persevere once those feelings set in, Peralta-Mitchell says.
She taps into powerful words, sayings and mantras to persevere when the going gets tough in a race. « When you run there, you have those moments where you’re connected and focused, but you can easily get overwhelmed with pain or challenge, like, I run at night, why did I sign up for this? » she says. « But you’d be surprised how much of the loudest voice we hear is our own. If you practice [power words] weeks in advance, you’ll be surprised how well you’ll be able to show up on race day.
For example, one phrase that Peralta-Mitchel finds particularly effective in his runs is « I shine, you shine. » You can test some of them and adjust and modify them in a way that suits you.
6. Plan your logistics in advance.
It is important to know in advance where you are going, what you are going to eat and what you are going to wear. Eliminating the unknowns — and much of the decision-making process in general — can calm the nerves, Peralta-Mitchell says. Mapping your transit location, researching restaurants ahead of time (or bringing your favorite food with you if you’re traveling), and planning your outfit can all make things a little smoother. (For evening runs in particular, layering can come into play, says Christenson, as temperatures often drop in the final miles.)
Planning is also key earlier in the day to ward off race day anxiety: you’ll have hours to kill, so you’ll want to fill them with activities that occupy your mind without stressing your body. If your goal is to break a personal best, Peralta-Mitchell suggests staying as still as possible, avoiding strenuous movements, and staying close to your home or hotel. To keep your mind occupied while waiting for the event to start, you can also use this time to enjoy more sedentary activities, for example, catching a show or movie during the day or taking a bus ride if you are running somewhere new.
7. Embrace the unique atmosphere.
Peralta-Mitchell likes to remind its riders to approach each race as a unique journey. You may find that your body reacts differently to evening runs than to morning runs, and that’s completely normal.
In some cases, you may feel a boost: Prior to becoming the event’s race director, Christenson actually ran her personal best half marathon on the super flat Las Vegas evening course. “Your mind is occupied with everything you see,” she says.
Plus, a fun, nighttime atmosphere can « give you the opportunity to push yourself in ways you don’t normally push yourself, » says Peralta-Mitchell.
But in other cases, you might find it more enjoyable to just slow your pace and enjoy the race, taking the opportunity to soak up all the things that make night races so special. « The ground isn’t going anywhere, but you’re living in this moment isn’t forever, » says Peralta-Mitchell. “So take it all! »