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Marathon Race-Day Tips From the Pros

Rene Kalmer and Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce

We caught up with adidas athletes Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce and Rene Kalmer, as they were preparing to run the 117th Boston Marathon, the first time for each at Boston. Turns out the two 2:29 marathoners get race day jitters and love cheering crowds – they’re just like the rest of us, only faster! Read on for their down-to-earth advice.

What do you eat for your pre-race dinner?

Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce (SR-B) – I recommend everyone eat what they usually do before a big run. For me that means rice, some sweet potato and meat. I focus on healthy fats and carbs.

Rene Kalmer (RK) – I go pretty light with rice, vegetables and a little bit of meat.

Do you have a particular pre-race ritual?

SR-B – I watch Rocky movies – the inspirational quotes keep me going!

RK – I’m not superstitious, but I also don’t do anything new before a race. I keep it just like at home.

Do you get pre-race jitters and, if so, what do you do about them?

SR-B – Oh, yes I get nervous before races! I cut back on my caffeine so I’m not too jazzed. I then remind myself that I chose to do this and try to focus on the opportunity not my nervousness.

RK – Of course, but I remind myself of all the hard work I put into my training runs and try not to think too much. There is so much positive energy around an event — I soak it all up for the race

Do you come prepared with a race-day strategy?

SR-B – I think about strategy a lot and have five different ones for every race. As the race unfolds, I’ll make game-time decisions and decide which one to use.

RK – I think it’s good to have a strategy, but also the confidence to change it depending upon the race.

How do you run through the tough parts of a race?

SR-B – I definitely suffer during a marathon. I feel like it goes in cycles, and I never invest too much in how I’m feeling, good or bad, I just ride the wave and stay in control. For the last two miles, I just pull from somewhere else. We put in too much training to let pain stop us.

RK – I focus on what I can control and feed off the energy of the crowd and enjoy the scenery to help through the tough parts.

After a big race, both athletes take a least a week, sometimes two, with no running. And for fun, Kalmer likes to mix in some retail therapy during her downtime!