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Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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How to maximize your Gasparilla race experience

Running Gasparilla can be an intimidating venture if you have never done it. Depending on the race, you might find yourself among 10,000 fellow runners on Bayshore Boulevard.

Follow these tips and your experience will be a little more enjoyable.

Don’t try anything new for breakfast — Do not overthink what you eat on race morning. If you do not normally eat before a morning run, then don’t worry about trying to get something down on race day. If you have toast or a banana, stick with that. During your next training cycle, you can try out some new things, but race day is not the day to do it.

Keep prerace time management a top priority — In general, you will want to arrive about an hour before your race (if you already have your packet). This will give you time to find parking, warm up, use a restroom and find the starting line. Keep in mind how far from the starting line you are and that there probably will be a line to use the facilities, so plan accordingly.

Line up at the starting line with the proper group — You should see signs for each race requesting runners to align with the pace that best suits them. This is for everyone’s benefit. I have seen runners line up in the front that were not ready to keep up with the initial surge. As a result, they were knocked down and almost trampled.

Don’t go out too fast — Maybe the toughest part of Gasparilla is not getting caught up with an initial surge of adrenaline and having nothing left for the second half of the race. If you have a GPS watch or an app on your phone, you can use that to help you stay on pace. If not, try to slow it down on purpose.

Have fun — This tip is a bit cliché, but why go through all the training if you are not going to enjoy the race? This is the day you have been gearing toward. You can be serious and focused on achieving whatever goal you have set, but take a moment to enjoy the sights and sounds. It will make it more likely that you will want to return next year.

Ben Henderson

Weather Center