Brooks Beast Nia Akins offers tips to help you to the finish line.
Racing is returning, slowly but surely.
Whether you're considering your first race or your 50th, it's always good to be prepared. And who better to help you get race-ready than a pro runner?
We chat with Brooks Beast Nia Akins about her pre-race routine, how runners can stay mentally strong after the starting gun, and what it's like to deal with adversity during a race. Plus, she offers up her expert tips for race day.
Nia's pre-race routine
While every runner is different, Akins recommends doing things to chill out and keep yourself from getting too keyed up.
Nia's Pre-Race Tips
Try to eat things you're familiar with and have worked for you in the past
Listen to your body. Don't be afraid to adjust your pre-race routine to accommodate how you're feeling.
Practise positive self-talk!
Nia on her racing mentality
Even though pro racing might seem unrelatable, adopting a pro mindset can help any runner achieve their goals.
Nia's Racing Tips
So much of running is mental. I think being kind to yourself is an important skill. I personally feel like whatever the mind is feeling, the body puts into practice. If I beat myself up over how tired I'm feeling, I notice I'll start to lose form and get lazy.
Have a good balance between your objective and subjective thoughts. Try to make sure your subjective and emotional thinking isn't in the driver's seat. In my experience, running off emotion works only sometimes. You must be strategic, because emotions can really cloud your judgement.
Accept adversity. There's nothing you can do in that moment to change it or make it better. Setting a new goal to run a race you're proud of is the best you can do in that moment. I think the silliest advice I've received is to finish a race no matter what; sometimes the strongest thing to do is stop. You have to listen to your body. This year I fell during the final at the Olympic Trials and it hurt, like a lot. But I'd made it that far, and I felt like I owed it to myself to finish that race. And it paid off. I was prouder of the way I responded to that than I'd been from any other race in my career.
Nia's post-race routine
Cross the finish line? There's still more to do. Recovery is also an important part of staying healthy and happy.
Nia's Post-Race Tips
Find a recovery routine. Everyone's different, but once you find a routine that works for you and leaves you feeling great the next day, stick to it.
Eat! Chowing down after a big effort is a huge part of recovery. After a race I usually have a little fun with food, especially if we're in a fun city — while still making sure I'm getting what my body needs.