Get Ready for Broad Street!: Ease Your Race-Day Worries

Team Philly’s running coach Ross Martinson on everything from what to eat and when to sleep to the best spots for spectators

So I should eat breakfast? I’ve eaten before my long runs on Kelly Drive and I’ve also waited until after and I think I feel better waiting.
I would advise everyone to eat at least a small breakfast the morning of the race.  A pre-race breakfast helps prevent low blood sugar and can also help settle a nervous stomach.  Also, at eight miles you won’t think, "I should have eaten breakfast." How much and how long before really varies with the individual. Shoot for 100-300 calories two to three hours before the race, and try out foods and timing on your long runs.  I like to have an English muffin with butter and jelly, and either a plain bagel or banana to nibble on waiting at the starting line.  Oatmeal is great, or toast with peanut butter, but even a handful of crackers or pretzels can be enough, and even easier on your stomach.  

What are some things you can do to avoid painful things like chaffing or blisters?
There are some great products like Bodyglide and Asics Chaf Free that work great to prevent chaffing and blisters. They work by putting a protective waxy coating on your skin, you can put it anywhere you think you might have a problem (toes, waistband, sports bra, etc.) Mention this article at any of our stores and we can give you a sample of Chaf Free to try.

Ideally the right shoes and gear won’t chafe, but on really hot or rainy days it helps to have some extra protection.

What if you have to go to the bathroom during the race? Can you leave the course or will you be disqualified?
No worries, there are Porta Potties along the course and you can stop anytime you need to.  There are hundreds of Porta Potties at the start and finish, but expect at least a short line at the start.  Everyone shares that nervous ‘gotta go’ feeling before a race.

I’ve heard that people wear warm-up clothes they don’t care about and discard them on the ground as they run.  Is it really okay to just toss a shirt or sweatshirt on the ground?
This is really common at all the bigger races, where you need to get in your coral (start position) really early.  At Broad Street you can wear warm up clothes to the start and put them on a bus that will take them to the finish for you.  The problem is you need to put them on there at least 25 minutes before the start of the race, so on a cold day you may want a long-sleeve shirt you can just discard. These clothes are all donated to the homeless, (see ) so you don’t have to feel too wasteful.  On a rainy morning you will see a lot of people with a trash bag poncho—to make one, just put a hole in the bottom of a large trash bag for your head.

If you have people coming to cheer you on where’s the best place to tell them to stand? Is it hard to find people at the finish?
The finish area can get pretty crowded, but around the 9-mile mark or FDR Park are great places for spectators, there is parking (although keep in mind that getting around with Broad Street closed can be tough) or the Pattison Avenue Stop of the Broad Street line.

Trying to meet someone at the finish can be tough, but picking one of the tents (like the lost runners tent, kids’ tent, or students-run tent) from the list in the runners’ info section can help. They have a big kids play area that is a great place to meet up for anyone with kids—also you can’t miss the big inflatable play areas.

What should you do that after the race to prevent tightening up over the next few days?
Drink plenty of fluids, and ice anything that feels extra sore.  On Monday it is a good idea to do something to move around a bit, spend a half hour or so out walking.  It’s a great excuse to go shopping on your lunch break, reward yourself with a gift, and maybe something for the person who puts up with your running.