By Meredith Nelson, M.Ed for The Island Eye News
If you are planning to run the 2018 Cooper River Bridge Run, I know you and 39,999 other people will have a blast. It’s always a fun time, for not only the seasoned competitive runners, but also those who are there, some in costume, for the party.
But no matter your goals for race day, there are some things that can make your experience more enjoyable. Here are my favorite tips for having a good run.
In the days leading up to the race:
- Don’t try anything new. This includes coffee on race day, wine the night before, new foods the day prior, and food on the course. If your body hasn’t experienced something, pre-race isn’t the time to experiment.
- Get a good night’s sleep – two nights before. You might have the “can’t sleep” jitters the night before, but that probably won’t affect your race too much. However, poor sleep two nights in a row can make you sluggish.
- Eat a healthy meal for dinner the night before. For example, a palm-sized serving of protein, unprocessed starches (sweet potatoes, quinoa, or brown rice), and a cup of cooked veggies. Unless you plan to be running more than an hour, there is no need to “carbo-load.” Sure, you can enjoy some pasta if you like, but don’t overdo it.
- Make sure you have your plan in order for getting to and from the race. Be sure you check road closure times and shuttle details. If you are leaving a car downtown for a speedy getaway, you’ll have to coordinate logistics, including where to legally park overnight.
Be sure to hit the Expo
- The Expo at the Charleston Area Convention Center is a great opportunity to buy new gear and check out all the cool running stuff. But don’t break in those cute new shorts or sleek new shoes on race day. Even something as simple as a gel pocket or race number belt can throw a kink into your race if you have an equipment malfunction.
- Drink lots of water the day before.
- Stay off your feet as much as possible, doing only what your training plan calls for (if anything) and not much else.
- Again, avoid new foods, drinks, etc, that may affect you hours after consumption. Remember, there is no port-a-potty at the top of the bridge.
Lay out all your clothes the night before
- Don’t forget socks (you know THAT pair of shoes only works well with THAT pair of socks), your bib (race number), and a way to carry what you want to have with you.
- It’s a good idea to plan to carry your driver’s license and a credit card during the race, as there are a few things you may want to purchase at the after-party in Marion Square.
- Throw-away layers… for the hour (or more) when you are waiting at the start line. The temperature may be a good bit cooler and you’ll want to stay warm, but those layers will quickly weigh you down once you start running.
What to do that morning:
- Rise early enough to eat (if that’s what you do) and get to the start line.
- Once you’re in your corral, then what? Stay warm. Perform some dynamic stretching . . . some simple stretches, jumping jacks,