Training Tips

Final Tips for Race Day

The Kansas Half and 5K is just days away and we are excited! We wanted to leave you with some final advice for the big event to ensure you have an amazing race!

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1. Prepare Early
There are several things you need to do in order to be in the best shape for race day. Carbing up on pasta and getting the best sleep you can is ideal two days before the race. You want to make sure that your body has enough stored energy for race day. You also want to get roughly 8 hours of sleep. We suggest doing this two days before since it’s harder to sleep for most runners the day before the race. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible prior to race day so that your feet are ready for all the running. Be sure to check the weather and pick out your running clothes the night before the run. This will make it easier for you to relax and not stress before the Kansas Half, but also give you a leg up on having the best race possible.

1. Nothing New
You’ve been training for this race for weeks. You’ve tried out shoes, clothes and nutrition to find what works for you. Stick with what you have found! DO NOT TRY OUT ANYTHING NEW FOR THIS RACE! Stick to what you know works best for your body. Don’t try a new pair of shoes that you haven’t broken in, or new clothes that you haven’t ever tried out on a run. Don’t try some new form of nutrition without testing it out to make sure that it works for your stomach. Follow your routine that you have gotten used to running. We repeat, NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY!

3. Bathroom Stuff
Before you cross the starting line, make sure that you have all your bathroom stuff taken care of. Although this is an uncomfortable subject, it’s important. You do not want to be stuck in the middle of the race with the sudden urge to go. It will make you cool down, ruin your time and throw you off pace. Plus, you don’t want to be hiding in the bushes or searching for a bathroom during the race. You have other things to think about so don’t make the bathroom one of them.

4. Don’t go out like a… jerk
Everyone is lining up for the race to start. There are hundreds of people. The nerves are coming or the adrenaline is racing. Then you’re off with the sound of the gun and everyone is going crazy. Our best advice to you is to not go out like a jerk, meaning don’t go out too fast. You don’t want to push yourself too early by blowing all your momentum. Instead start off slower than your usual pace. If you’re running the half it’s a good idea to take your time with the first few miles then really hone in on the pace that you want to run. Be careful though, other runners will probably make this mistake and you don’t want to be caught up running faster than you need to at the beginning. Another option is to stick with a pacer for the beginning miles and then take off when you are ready. Just remember as your lining up not to go to fast.

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5. Stay in your box
There are so many things that runners cannot control on race day.  Your box is the things you have control of.  Another racer cut you off?  Let them go and don’t dwell on it.  You can’t control them.  It starts raining and you left your rain jacket in the car?  Forge ahead, no point in getting mad at yourself.  You can control your pace, your nutrition, and your attitude.  Keep your attitude positive and let go of the things outside of your box of control.   You’ll have a lot more fun and the finish line will arrive a whole lot sooner if you stay in charge of your race rather than falling victim to all the other things.

6. Remember to Eat
We’ve devoted a whole blog on finding a nutrition plan that works for you, but now it the time to remember it. Do not forget to eat every 45 minutes to an hour. Do not forget to intake fluids throughout the race. Your body needs fuel to keep itself going throughout the run. Whatever your nutrition plan is, stay with it and it will make it easier to cross the finish line.

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7. Celebrate
Remember to have fun throughout the race! Enjoy the scenery, the runners beside you or the music your jamming out too. It’s easier to have a great race when you remember to enjoy it. You’ve put in the training, you’ve done all the work and now is the time to celebrate your accomplishments! Racing won’t be as fun if you don’t have fun or celebrate at the end. You’re more likely to sign up again if you make it a great experience. YOU GOT THIS!

We’ll see you on race day!

From all of us at Garry Gribbles,

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Running Wardrobe for Race Day

The final topic we need to address is what to wear on race day. If you start getting more serious about running, you may want to invest in some technical running clothes. Unlike cotton clothing, synthetic fabrics, such as Dri-Fit or CoolMax, wick moisture away from your skin and will help you avoid chafing. Although the technical fabric clothes may cost a little more, you’ll appreciate the comfort, especially during long runs. Plus, with Kansas weather so unpredictable, it’s important to be prepared with the right clothes for any weather that could happen on Nov. 6.

What if it’s hot on race day?

If it’s above 60 degrees on race day, wear clothes that’s light in color, lightweight and has vents or mesh. When it comes to the heat, the less clothes the better, so shorts, short sleeved shirts and tank tops are all good options. 
Microfiber polyesters are good fabric choices. Be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and shades.

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What if it’s freezing on race day?

If it’s below 32 degrees wearing several thin layers of clothing helps trap warm air between each layer keeping you considerably warmer than if you were to wear one heavy layer.  Start with a thin, moisture wicking material next to skin to keep you dry.  Then add a thermal mid-layer for warmth.  An outer shell can be used as well in more adverse conditions to block wind and precipitation.  Some jackets, known as soft-shells, combine the thermal properties of a mid-layer and the protective properties of a shell.  The Nike Shield series of clothing is perfect for this, though many brands make similar very effective products.  Layers allow you to adjust mid-run, as you can remove a layer or adjust your clothing to make yourself more comfortable.

Layering also includes socks; wearing two pairs of polypropylene socks keeps your feet warmer and drier than one heavy pair.  Synthetic fabrics and merino wool/synthetic blends wick moisture away from your body and keep you as warm and dry as possible.  Hat and gloves are absolutely necessary once the temperature dips below freezing. Your body will lose the majority of its heat through any exposed skin, so cover up as much as possible. If it’s really cold, you can cover exposed areas such as your face with Vaseline to reduce the potential of frostbite. Buffs are also a good solution to keep skin covered up, since they have the ability to be worn 12 different ways.

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What if it’s raining on race day?

Invest in a lightweight, waterproof shell jacket to stay dry on cold, rainy runs. For warmer rainy runs, try an ultra lightweight rain-resistant running jacket or vest. A hat or visor with a brim will keep the rain out of your eyes. For cold, rainy runs in the 30s or 40s, consider adding a light beanie or headband for warmth. A waterproof cap will help keep your head warm and dry. When it’s above 55 degrees, visors are better option since they allow heat to escape. Wearing a pair of wicking socks can make all the difference in preventing blisters from developing.

Fashion Don’ts

Cotton is a big no-no for runners because once it gets wet, it stays wet. It becomes uncomfortable in warmer weather and dangerous in cold weather. Your skin is also more likely to chafe if you’re wearing cotton. It’s also a smart idea to avoid wearing 100% cotton socks. Wearing running socks that are a synthetic blend will help prevent blisters. Those types of materials will wick the sweat away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable.

Race day is NOT the time to experiment with a new pair of running shoes, running shorts, or a new sports bra. You should be trying out new clothes and shoes during your training runs and then stick with your tried-and-true favorites that you know are comfortable. It’s tempting to wear that new race T-shirt you get in your race goody bag before the race, but you never know if it’s going to be uncomfortable or chafe you in place you’ve never chafed before. Wait until after you’ve successfully crossed the finish line to put it on.

From all of us at Garry Gribble’s,

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Getting Your Goal

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If you couldn’t guess already, this week’s topic is all about motivation and goal setting. With November 6th creeping up it’s time to have your goals in check and to bring back some of that original motivation that made you sign up for the race.  For some of you, the half or 5K is something you might be doing for fun and the goal is just to finish. Others may have specific time goals. Whatever your goals are, they need to be attainable.

Setting Realistic Goals
You need to have real expectations about what you can accomplish on race day. A good goal is challenging but realistic. Your goals should put you outside your comfort zone but still remain in the realm of possibility. If you’ve already run a 2:10 half marathon, then your next goal should ideally be to run it a little faster. Otherwise, you won’t be as motivating to finish.

Don’t go to the other extreme and say, “I want to lower my half marathon PR to 1:40.” Your goal should be attainable within a reasonable time frame. You might eventually get down to 1:40, but it’s most likely going to occur gradually. The best practice is to have two goals, your A and B goals. Your B goal is your challenging but realistic goal. It’s something that will push you, but not impossible for you to accomplish. The A goal is something you want to accomplish, but is a way more out of reach. It’s a goal that you should build your way up. However, if you do reach your A goal on race day, it feels amazing!

The potential downside of having out-of-reach goals is that you train too hard, push your body too hard, and lose motivation due to lack of progress. This could result in injury. Many runners who have to take a week or two off to heal from an injury, immediately return to hard training in an attempt to hit their goal time. They’ll take the risk of getting injured again if it means they can regain their fitness faster. The problem with this approach is that it often leads to further injury. Not only do these runners not hit their goal time, but now they’re injured again.

For those of you who just want to finish the race, stick with your training plan. Get your long runs in and avoid pushing yourself so you don’t get injured. This will ensure that you will cross the finish line on race day.

Keeping Motivation Up
It is much easier to stay motivated once you have set up your attainable goals. That way, you can sustain momentum by celebrating small, frequent victories. Plus, you’ll avoid the all-or-nothing thinking that triggers massive disappointment if factors beyond your control interfere along the way. For example, if you wake up to a rainy race day. But the good news, if that by committing to the Kansas Half/5K you already have some motivation.

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Other ways to keep your training going is to find a friend to join the fun. Find a local group or buddy make the miles a little more enjoyable. Garry Gribble’s has a weekly fun run that meets on Tuesday nights at 6:30 p.m. at our store. The fun run goes 3 to 4 miles and all paces are welcome!

Another form of motivation is keeping track of all the miles you have been running. Nothing is as motivating as seeing the miles pile up. Good choices for apps are Strava, MapMyRun, Fitbit and Runner’s World.

Finally, reward yourself for your progress. Every two weeks of consistent training give yourself a reward, whether it’s a new pair of running socks, new running clothes or a massage. Treat yourself for all the hard work that you have been putting in for race day.

From all of us at Garry Gribble’s,

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Finding Your Fuel

We’re less than a month away from race day and now we need to knockout nutrition. It’s important to have a plan of attack to fueling your body for the race. For 5K runners, you don’t need to intake a lot of fuel during your run. It might be important to take something prior to the starting line to help give you a little boost of energy for your run. Half marathoners need to have a plan to make sure that they have some way to fuel their bodies during all those miles.

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Nutrition Game Plan
During your half marathon it’s important to remember to eat every 45 minutes to an hour. Your body needs both calories and electrolytes to keep itself going during your run. There are gels, chews, bars, waffles and drinks that are all good nutrition options for your long workouts. Now is the time to experiment and find which works best for your body during your runs. Every runner’s stomach is different and you might not be able to handle a certain product. I repeat, experiment now, because you are running out of time to find what works best for you!

Taking in Calories
Your body needs calories or carbohydrates during long runs. The body can store only a limited amount of glycogen. When you deplete your storage, your muscles and brain run out of fuel and you feel physically fatigued and mentally drained. “Hitting the wall” is essentially your brain and muscles running out of carbs. Consuming carbs can help minimize glycogen depletion and keep blood sugar level. In other words, it prevents you from crashing and burning.

Getting in Electrolytes
During your runs you lose a lot of electrolytes through your sweat, mainly sodium and potassium. Potassium helps to move nutrients and fluids across your cells. Without sufficient potassium, your muscles cells can’t generate the necessary nerve impulses that control muscle contraction. Cramping or side stitches are the body’s way of letting you know the electrolyte tank is empty and it cannot continue. Even if you’ve never experienced cramping or the awful side stitches, electrolytes need to be replenished after sessions longer than a hour to make sure you can recover.

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Tailwind-All you need, all day. Really
A good solution to making sure you have enough calories and electrolytes is Tailwind. Tailwind is sponsoring the Kansas Half/5K this year, so it will be at every aid station. Tailwind combines complete fuel, hydration, and electrolytes in one tasty drink. Tailwind’s glucose/sucrose composition takes advantage of how our bodies absorb nutrients. Once in the bloodstream, the glucose in Tailwind fuels muscles directly, allowing runners to go longer. Sipping Tailwind provides steady, small doses of fuel that pass right through the stomach to keep you energized throughout your workout. Plus, it’s easy on the stomach.  Tailwind is also made from all natural ingredients and organic flavors and mixes clear with water. If you haven’t tried it before, now is the time to stop in and try it out before race day to make sure it doesn’t cause any stomach problems. You don’t want to find that out during race day. Stop in and pick up a bag of one of the many flavors and test it out during your next long run.

If you need help finding the right nutrition, stop on in and chat with any members of our staff. We have huge variety of the best nutrition products to use for running.  Let us help you find the fuel you need to cross the finish line!

From all of us at Garry Gribble’s,

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It’s All About Recovery

You’ve signed up for the race. You’re well into your training. Now it’s time to talk recovery.

Let’s start with a story about a group of local runners.  Each March the group travels down to Syallmo, Arkansas to participate in a 3-day trail running stage race near the Ozark Mountains. Now, runners don’t have to participate in all three days, but most do thanks to the North Syallmo Creek. After each day of running, the runners will stand in the clear water creek for roughly 10 minutes. The water is just around 40 degrees, but the runners love it because they believe it helps their legs recover in time to run the next day. The idea is that the cold water helps relax the muscles, just like an ice bath, giving the runners some recovery for the next day.

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Recovery is an important part of training plans. It’s important to listen to your how your body is feeling and make sure you include recovery time during the week to prevent yourself from becoming injured.

Muscle Recovery
Massage can really speed recovery by improving circulation and by helping to remove waste products from your muscles. The sooner you rub down your tired leg muscles, the better. Keep in mind that you may feel some pain as your stiff muscles are massaged. Rolling out with the foam rollers, massage balls, or trigger point rollers are all good ways to help your muscles relax and start the recovery process. Next you’ll want to soak your legs in cool water for 5 to 10 minutes. Any cool water source will do-think tub, pool, stream, pond, or creek like our local racers. Adding ice cubes to tub water works really well, but cold water straight from the tap works fine too. Avoid hot-water soaks, as they can actually slow down your recovery process. Even if you can’t get a soak in right away, it’s still beneficial to soak your legs even 2 to 3 hours after your run. Finally, elevating your legs after a long workout will also speed up the recovery process. Put up your legs up as you’re watching TV or reading a book, and relax!

Nutrition Recovery
The best thing you can do for recovering after a hard or long run is too make sure to have a good meal. It’s important to make sure your giving your body back the calories it burned during your workout.  Consuming a high-carbohydrate meal as soon as possible will jump-start the refueling process. Quality protein sources are also important to replace any that was used to meet energy demands. Great options include eggs, sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, salmon, fruits, veggies and chocolate milk. We understand sometimes it can be challenging to get a full meal in. In that case, good options are recovery drinks that many companies make. A good example would be Hammer Recoverite. Make sure to also drink enough water and get electrolytes to replace any fluids you lost during the workout.

Compression
Compression clothing is used by runners to recover from hard runs and races as quickly as possible. Studies show that compression stimulates blood flow, helping legs recover faster from a hard run. The snug-fitting, knee-high socks and arms are meant to increase circulation and reduce lactic acid build-up. The benefit is that it circulates blood faster back to your heart, which regenerates blood quicker to your legs. Compression socks help reduce swelling, muscle soreness, and muscle fatigue experienced post run.

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Injury Prevention
Since you’ve been working hard on your feet, they need a little recovery too. Oofos are a great solution for that. Slipping on OOFOS after a workout provides them with relief and a chance to recover. They are designed to take the shock out of every step. Unlike flip-flops, OOFOS have tremendous arch support to take the pressure off of ankles, knees, hips and lower back. Plus, they are soft and lightweight. Great shoes just to wear around the house and they come in different colors and styles.

Rest
Although there are several ways to help you recover faster from your run, your body also needs rest to recover. Adequate rest enhances the recovery process and also helps reduce the risk of injury and chronic fatigue. The body needs 1-2 days of physical rest to get you back to feeling rested. It’s important to make sure your body is well rested and ready for race day!

From all of us at Garry Gribbles,

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Find the Strength You Need to Cross the Finish Line

Whether you simply want to run pain-free or you want to shave some time off your favorite distance, strength training will help. Strength work is one of the best things you can incorporate into a runner’s training plan.

Injury Prevention
One of the biggest benefits is that it’s a wonderful tool for injury prevention.  Since runners see many types of injuries, it’s the best way to cross train.

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The stronger you get, the more resilient your body will be to running. The repetitive impact of running won’t wear you down as much. Plus, a strong body can help any preexisting conditions, which will less likely to worsen as you continue to run. This is due to the fact that strength training helps to improve weaknesses in your muscles, joints, or connective tissues throughout the body. This will eliminate the root of many common running injuries.

Maintaining Pace
Strength training also builds core strength, which is particularly important for distance runners. A strong core will help contribute to better posture throughout the day and while running. This means you’ll be a more efficient runner.

Running is lots of repetitive motion, meaning that over time and the longer you go, the more of a pounding your muscles take.  By incorporating strength training into your workouts, you can increase the time it takes before your muscles fatigue out.  By adding running specific strength training, you can reduce the chance that you’ll blow out your muscles before crossing that finish line!

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Finally, strength training will help you run faster! By improving your efficiency, allowing you to impart more force into the ground, and train healthy for longer periods of time, you’ll finish races faster than ever before.

Plus, you’ll enjoy many of the other benefits that come with strength training, such as higher energy levels, increased bone density, a stronger metabolism, and less body fat. Garry Gribbles and many other places around the community provide tons of options for strength training. Ask one of our great staff members about how to get your strength training started!

From all of us at Garry Gribble’s,

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If the shoe fits… run the Kansas Half Marathon/5K

It’s time to talk about one of the most important tools you need to be success for race day: Shoes! One thing runners need to know is that there is no one perfect shoe. Every person has different feet. Some have wider feet, others have longer feet. Some have a high arch, while others are more flat footed. It all just depends on you and the shape of your feet. Finding the right fit is essential to helping you cross the finish line!

Video Gait Analysis

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At Garry Gribble’s we study the way you walk and run using a video gait analysis. We take video of the way you walk and slow it down so that we can show you the way your feet are positioned when you are on the move. This gives us a better understanding of what shoe will work best for you based on the biomechanics of your feet.

Neutral vs. Stability
Once we’ve completed the video gait analysis, we break you down into one of two categories of shoes: Neutral or Stability.

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Neutral shoes are generally for runners who have a higher arch that does not pronate or collapse inwardly. Neutral shoes usually have more substantial cushioning. Neutral runners usually wear the outside corner of the heel, and in the center of the forefoot or the outside of the forefoot on the bottom of their shoes.  Neutral also work best for the runner who supinates. Supination happens when your foot strikes the ground on the outer edge of your heel, and the arches roll slightly out. A supinated wear pattern will show wear at the outside corner of the heel, and significant wear along the entire outside edge of the shoe.

Runners who need a Stability shoe generally have lower arches that allow the foot to over-pronate.  Stability shoes also feature dual density material in the midsole to prevent the foot from over-pronating. Stability shoes also have plenty of cushioning as well. Most runners – ranging from the beginner jogger to the well-seasoned marathoner – over-pronate mildly and require at least some stability from their running shoes.

Cushion and Weight
Each running shoe company has their own specific cushion and weight for each kind of shoe they make. Usually the more cushion a shoe has the heavier the shoe will be. 5K runners might not need a lot of cushion since they are running a shorter distance. Half marathoners might want a little more cushion because of the extra distance. Again, it all depends on what your foot needs and how you feel the most comfortable running.

Training Shoe vs. Race Day Shoe
Runners need to have two pairs of shoes when preparing for a race! You need shoes to train in. These shoes will be the ones you put the most mileage on when building up your base.  Runners also need a pair for race day. These shoes should be worn only a couple of times during training to break them in, but not to wear them out. You want to have a new fresh pair of shoes that you can run in for race day.  Some runners even choose to have different styles of shoes, picking a higher cushion shoe for the long training runs and a lighter, more responsive shoe for speed work and race day.

Insoles
These days running shoes usually provide a lot of cushion, but sometimes you need a little more boost. Insoles are a great option to help provide more cushion or stability. It further customizes a shoe to your foot and tends to make the shoe last longer. It can also help with those struggling with shin splits and plantar fasciitis.

Another thing to keep in mind is that feet are always changing. The size and width of your feet often change depending on how much you run. No matter what kind of feet you have, we strive to find the right fit for you!

From all of us at Garry’s Gribbles,

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7 Tips to get you ready for the Kansas Half Marathon/5K

One great thing about running is that you learn something new with every run. This weekly blog is to help provide tips on training, as well as get you pumped for the Kansas Half Marathon/5K!

  1. Go the Distance

During your training, you should get short runs in during the week and a long run on the weekends. The long run is just that…long. This run should help your body build endurance without wearing it down. Don’t skip your long runs. Always find time to get them in even if it means running at a different time of day or alternating between Saturday and Sundays. Most half marathon training plans will take the runner up to 12 or 13 miles. There’s no need to do a run longer than 13 for a half.

  1. Rest

Rest is just as important as a run workout. Your body needs time to rebuild and repair. Skipping rest days will mess with your body’s ability to recover and make you more prone to injury. Be sure to take your scheduled rest days, but also listen to your body. If you’re feeling worn down, have no energy, feel sore, tired, lethargic and or unmotivated, skip a day. You’re most likely over training and in need of a rest day.

  1. Find your Fuel

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One of the most important things to do while preparing for a half marathon is to find your nutrition. Each runner needs to find a nutrition plan that works for them. During your 13.1 miles, it’s good to eat every 5 miles to make sure you have enough fuel to get you to the finish line. At Garry’s we have a wide variety nutrition options like gels, waffles, power bars and energy boosters. Runners need to experiment with these products during long runs to find what will work best for their bodies. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to find what’s best for you. For 5K runners, a mid-race snack is not necessary, but your fuel before your race can really impact your results.

  1. Explore the Lawrence River Trail

It’s a good idea to switch up where you run during your training. We suggest going for a few runs at the Lawrence River Trail in north Lawrence. It’s a nice easy dirt trail that is softer to run on and great views of the Kaw River. The softer surface can be nice for recovery runs, since the impact is less on your body. Make sure your body is comfortable running on different types of surfaces.  Don’t get stuck running the same routine.

  1. Buy two pairs of running shoes

The miles will add up over the course of half-marathon training, and one pair of shoes won’t be enough to handle the entire load. Having two fresh pairs of shoes on hand when you start your training helps extend the life of each pair. Recent studies suggest that alternating between a couple different pairs of shoes in training can decrease running-related injury risk by varying the load to your musculoskeletal system. Buying two pair of shoes can be expensive, but it’s a return on your health. Another reason to have two pair of kicks for both 5K runners and half-marathoners is to make sure that you have a fresh pair with low mileage on them for race day. That way you still have plenty of cushion and support left, instead of racing in worn out shoes.

  1. Experience Kansas Weather

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Those of you that are from Kansas know that the weather can be unpredictable. One of the best things to do is to prepare yourself for any kind of weather that may come race day. Practice in the heat, rain, wind and cooler temperatures. This also allows you to get an idea on what to wear in any type of weather situation, which will relieve some of the stress the night before race day.

  1. Pace yourself

New to pacing? To maximize your potential on race day, you need to think about pacing yourself. Pacing takes practice. It requires patience and self-control, especially in race settings. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement and let the race dictate your pace. Know your pace heading into the race and stick to it, regardless of how fast the race leaders take off.

We’re really excited to be partnering with the Kansas Half Marathon/5K this year! We look forward to helping you along your training and making sure you’re ready for race day!

From all of us at Garry Gribble’s
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