Last-minute Gasparilla Distance Classic tips - WFLA News Channel 8

Last-minute Gasparilla Distance Classic tips

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic is this weekend. WFLA has been tracking a group of runners and walkers as they prepare for races. Shandra Bohley, one of the group members, feels ready for the 5K race Saturday.

"I do the walk/job. I've gotten up to the distance of the whole 5K," said Bohley.

Our YMCA trainer, Carrie Bell, met with Bohley to discuss some last-minute tips for the days leading up to the race and race day itself.

"Taper your workouts a bit this week. Take it easy on yourself," said Bell.  "I definitely would do some workouts, but take them down a notice," Bell continued.

Bell even suggests taking the day off from working out Thursday. On Friday, the day before the race, she recommends a 20-minute walk to keep your muscles loose and ready for race day.

In the few days before the race, Bell reminds Bohley to drink extra water, so she will be fully hydrated. Many people have heard of "carb-loading" and think it means a big plate of pasta the night before the race. Bell says that is not the best way to build up your carbohydrates. She says to add a few extra carbohydrates to each meal for two or three days.

"Not necessarily eating it the night before, all at one time," said Bell.

On race day, she says runners and walkers should eat the same thing they have eaten before their training runs and not try any new food or beverage.

Last year more than 11,000 people ran or walked the 5K race, so it may be intimidating when you first arrive at the starting line.

"Get there extra early, so you're feeling relaxed," said Bell. "You're feeling like you know where you're supposed to be."

Dynamic or moving stretches are best for warming up your leg muscles before a run. In the crowd of thousands, there may not be enough room for that. Bell suggests taking a brisk walk to the starting position first.

"You can do some in-place marches. Bring your knees up high," said Bell. "That will warm you up and little bit and get the blood flowing."

All the training and preparation will be worth it when that starting gun sounds.

The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic is Feb. 22 and 23. On Saturday, Feb. 22, runners in the 15K and 5K races will head down Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Sunday, Feb. 23, it is time for the half marathon and 8K.
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