10 Race-Day Walking Tips

You already know that a regular exercise routine plays an important role in helping you reach your weight-loss goals. And since fall is in full swing, why not change up your workout and participate in one or more of the noncompetitive charity walking events planned in your area of the country? You will get a good workout as well as contribute to a worthy cause! If you’re planning to sign up for a walk, here are a few race-day tips to keep in mind:

Before the Race…

  1. Dress for success: Choose a comfortable race-day outfit made from moisture-wicking fabrics to keep sweat in check. Wear a lightweight jacket you can remove and tie at your waist in case of changing weather. Also, be sure to wear your broken-in walking shoes and athletic socks to avoid chafing and blisters.

  2. Create a walking playlist: Design a music playlist for your portable music device to keep you motivated as you walk. Choose songs that will inspire you to walk all the way to the finish line. Start off slowly to warm up before increasing your pace.

  3. Enlist a buddy: Ask a family member or energetic friend to join you in the race. When you make a commitment to participate with someone else, you’re more likely to actually show up and reach the finish line — plus, you’ll enjoy the camaraderie! Keep in mind when choosing a walking partner that it’s best to find someone who walks at a similar pace.

On Race Day…

  1. Eat an energizing breakfast: Be sure to eat a meal up to one hour prior to the start of the race. If you’re on Phase 1, have an omelet with veggies and reduced-fat cheese. If you’re on Phase 2, enjoy a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit or have whole-grain toast with no-sugar-added natural peanut butter.

  2. Take water breaks: Many race events have water stops to help you stay hydrated. Take advantage of these offerings and drink up. It’s also smart to bring an environmentally-friendly reusable water bottle in case you get thirsty between breaks or the event you’re participating in doesn’t provide water stations.

  3. Set a reasonable pace: Go at the pace you’re comfortable with. If people speed up as though it’s a marathon, don’t be tempted to keep up with them. It’s best to walk at a pace that’s safe and comfortable for you to ensure you make it to the finish line.

After the Race…

  1. Stretch and cool down: Slowly walk around for 5 to 10 minutes to cool down after completing the race. Stopping suddenly could cause you to feel light-headed or get cramps. Do a complete body stretch, focusing on your lower body.

  2. Rehydrate: Be sure to drink more water after the race.

  3. Have a post-workout snack: The best post-workout snack is a combination of protein and good carbohydrates. If you’re on Phase 1, have fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt, natural peanut butter, a small container of hummus, a little reduced-fat cheese, or a slice or two of lean deli meat with some veggies. On Phase 2 you can have one of the same, plus a slice of whole-wheat bread or a whole-wheat pita. Or bring along a South Beach Diet 100-Calorie Snack Bar or one of our Good to Go Cereal Bars, which come in Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Cinnamon Raisin.

  4. Congratulate yourself: Completing a walking race is a big accomplishment,whether it’s 2 miles or 10 miles. Give yourself a pat on the back. You might find that entering a race from time to time will give you the motivation to keep walking on a day-to-day basis — ideal for sustained weight loss and better health.

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