In this chapter of our guide, we focus on the topic of racing. Whether it's a local fun run, a festive Santa Dash or the ultimate running challenge (the marathon), racing is an experience no runner should miss. We believe in the power of runners helping runners, so to help you get the most out of racing, we've sourced our insights from some of the world's best coaches and athletes, including marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.
"Runners are able to help each other because it's a mutual interest between them and that's why I always say running is a team sport".
Eliud Kipchoge, Olympian, marathon world record holder
Race & Rejoice
"Look at the race as a celebration of everything you did to get there", says Nike Running Head Coach Chris Bennett. "At the finishing line you can look back and go, 'I just ran for 14 weeks. I didn't just finish a marathon, I ran hundreds of miles to get here', and that's worth celebrating".
Framing the race this way can alleviate some race-day jitters and help you see it as the climax of not just your journey but of everyone you're racing with. Coach continues: "If we are competing with and not against everyone, when we celebrate that we raced, we're celebrating that everyone raced. And I think that's a really valuable part of our community".
Check out our Nike Run Club Training Plans where small Achievements build up to the ultimate victory—the race itself.
Eat For Victory
On the minds of many runners is what to eat when it comes to racing, whether it's the night before, the morning of or even during a race. While there are some guidelines like avoid eating a load of beans or cheeseburgers at the starting line, it ultimately comes down to doing what you've learnt works best for you. For Eliud Kipchoge, he eats rice and beef the night before a big race. Olympic marathon runner Shalane Flanagan likes to wake up several hours before the race and eat a big balanced breakfast. "I practise and stick with what I've done in training and then I apply it to race day. So, no new foods", says Shalane.
Learn what Sports Nutritionist Monique Ryan says about what to eat before, during and after a race in this handy article on Nike Journal.
Get Mentally Fit
"Running is physical. It takes movement. But the most movement happens in the mind", says running sage and marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge. "Running makes your mind strong. If your mind is strong, you can do what others say is impossible".
Getting your mind in shape for a big race is just as (if not more) crucial than being physically prepared. "You have to get to the starting line physically healthy, emotionally healthy, mentally healthy. If one of those things is injured, you're not going to run as best as you can", says Nike Running Head Coach, Chris Bennett. From practising mindfulness, breathing exercises and learning that race-day jitters are often just misplaced excitement, you can strengthen your mind to accomplish what your legs can't do alone.
Check out the 'The Big Day Run with Headspace' Guided Run in the Nike Run Club App for smart tips on mentally preparing for race day.
Run With Eliud
Run alongside Eliud Kipchoge as he shares wisdom about running, racing and life in the 'Run With Eliud' Guided Run.
Your Perfect Running Partner
The Nike Run Club App is the perfect complement to keep you running towards your best. You can track your runs, set goals, measure your progress and celebrate success. You can also share your journey with a community of runners, join Challenges and cheer each other on.