Training is the journey that gets you to the celebration – the 5K, 10K, half-marathon or marathon! When you are training, train as you will race.

For example, if you plan to rehydrate or snack at rest stations on the day of the race, you need to do the same as you train. If you do not hydrate regularly in your training runs, it is not a good idea to hydrate every few miles during the actual race, as your body will be used to the hydration and nutrition you used while you were following your running schedules. Don’t throw your body a curveball on race day!

When the day arrives, run your own race. If you’ve been training with a partner, run with him or her on race day. If you’ve planned to run by yourself, run on your own. Whichever way you prefer, run your own race, and run at your own pace. You know what you’ve prepared for, and race day is the time to get it done.

Pay attention to your splits on the first few miles. (Well, you can pay attention on all of them, but pay close attention to those first few.) For example, if you are running a half or full, negative splits on the first three to four miles is key. Start the race a little slower than your normal pace in training. While this seems counterintuitive, there are many factors, such as adrenaline, on the day of the race that can impact you when the shotgun fires. Start about thirty seconds slower than your normal pace for the first few miles, then ramp up to your usual pace after that.

Wear a smile, because it truly helps. While it may not seem significant, there is scientific evidence to support that it will put you in a better place for your race. Our bodies are more relaxed when we’re smiling, and this will help you during the race.

You have worked hard and put in valiant effort. It’s time to enjoy the victory lap!