***To Join your fellow DUFFNATICS for the Bridge Run click HERE.  Make a note on our Facebook Page to find out where we’re meeting up!***

If you haven’t noticed the buzz around Mount Pleasant and Charleston yet, you will soon.  This Saturday is the 40th annual Cooper River Bridge Run, that ubiquitous 10K that stretches from Coleman Boulevard all the way down to Marion Square (click HERE for a course map), bringing with it droves of ambitious athletes ready to take on the scenic race.

With gorgeous surroundings and an amazing afterparty, it’s no wonder that Active has named it the third most popular 10k in the country.  According to the Post and Courier the 2016 Cooper River Bridge Run had over 35,902 registered participants and that number is estimated to be even larger this year. Considering these numbers (and that fact that the race is a BLAST), there is a HUGE chance that many of you DUFFNATICS will be out there racing too!  And with that in mind, here are a few tips for making this your best Bridge Run ever!


Your first instinct may be to try to work in a long run the week before a 10K, but most experts recommend against it. “This strategy will only leave you tired and depleted come race morning. Back off your training the week prior to any race because it can shave minutes off your total time,” says Healthy Living reporter Andrea Cespedes of the Arizona Republic.  That means doing what she calls, a 10K Taper: “A 10K taper involves backing off total mileage while still including some intensity so your legs feel fresh, not stiff, come race morning.”

LiveStrong recommends “A couple of leisurely two- to three-mile runs during the three to seven days before the race [to] help maintain your endurance and keep your legs loose for race day.”  And then, instead of spending your time running, spend time stretching and strengthening your legs. 


Nike’s Run Club puts it perfectly: “All runners need to be athletes.  You gotta workout to run faster, fitter, stronger…from building a strong core, to strengthening your legs for those long strides, cross-training will help you run better.”  Runners World agrees: “Supplementing running with strengthening exercises will not only aid in injury prevention but will make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner…runners should focus on targeting the key muscles that will keep them balanced.” 

Fortunately, we know that you are amazing athletes and all of that hard work that you’ve been putting into the gym will pay off exponentially during your race.  But what can you do this week to help stay strong and focused for Saturday? RW recommends planks, lower-body Russian twists, back extensions, lunges and kettle bell squats.  (Check out complete explanations of these exercises, including videos, as well as more recommended exercises by clicking HERE.)


BUT with that being said, the week before a 10K is not the time to start bringing in new exercises. Runners World explains, “Don’t do anything new. Race week isn’t the time to try new shoes, new food or drinks, new gear, or anything else you haven’t used on several workouts. Stick with the routine that works for you.”


On the day before your race, be sure that you get plenty of rest.  LiveStrong recommends that you “should rest rather than exercise the two days leading up to the race. Get plenty of sleep during the nights leading up to the run for optimal performance.” 


Running a 10K is not an excuse to chow down on your favorite foods.  “Don’t worry about carb-loading on the days leading up to the race—despite its popularity, research shows that it doesn’t consistently increase performance, and even less so in women due to estrogen muddling things up with respects to glycogen storage,” recommends Shape Magazine.  “Instead, to ensure your body will be ready to go when the start gun goes off, eat as you normally would on the day of your race, and then two to three hours before it starts, pre-load with a meal that’s high-carbohydrate (~70g) and low- to moderate-protein (~15g). This combo will temporarily supersaturate your muscle energy stores and increase the proportion of carbs that you use to fuel your efforts during your race, plus the protein can help attenuate muscle damage.”


The folks at active.com suggest: “The day before the race you should be taking in plenty of water in order to have a well-hydrated body. Avoid alcohol or excessive amounts of caffeine this specific day. Your morning cup of coffee is OK, but not all day.”


Coming right from the source, the experts at BridgeRun.com explain that wearing “breathable, comfortable clothes will have a large impact on your performance. Make sure you have the appropriate materials and styles to wear while participating in your big race…chafing is something you definitely want to avoid when trying to stay concentrated on your breathing and pace, so be sure to wear the correct attire and materials such as nylon and polyester.”


And finally, Runner’s World puts it perfectly: “5Ks and 10Ks are hugely positive community events. You get to spend a morning with strangers cheering you on, feeding you and offering water, and celebrating doing something healthy for yourself.”  So go out there and have fun!