Most of you know me as the smiling guy who greets you in the gym. Some of you know my passion for running and fitness. If I have not met you, my name is Pat Der. I am the General Manager here at GSFP and I love to run.  I have been running since 2010. I have completed 8 Marathons and 8 Half Marathons. Outside of the gym I am the co-founder of the Green Cormorant Run Club (GCRC) here in Oakland. We are a small intimate running club that meets on Tuesdays at 6pm at the Lake Chalet at Lake Merritt. Since 2013, I have been fulfilling my passion by helping others and helping them with their running goals. I am a certified Road Runners Club of America running coach and a student of running who is striving to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from our awesome trainers here at GSFP, reading books and through my own experiences. I am honored that Dave has asked me to write a blog to give you all some tips on the upcoming 2017 Piedmont Turkey Trot 5k.

Pat’s Race day tips!

Get everything you need prepared before you go to bed

·      This means lay out your race gear, pack everything necessary for pre, during and post race. Pin your race bib to your shirt and don’t forget to set your alarm. Preparing as much as possible the night before will save you a lot of time and stress during race day.

Give yourself some time before the race

·      Give yourself enough time to get to the race, to find parking, warm up, and to use the rest room. You want to go into the race with the least amount of stress as possible. The race itself will put enough stress on you and you don’t want carry extra stress during the race.

Don’t try anything new

·      Stick to your game plan.  Don’t add anything new and stick to things that you have tried and true. This means everything from nutrition, clothing, shoes and the way you run.

Eat a light breakfast 1-2 hours before start time.

·      Race starts are very early and most of us do not have an appetite before 7:00 am and I bet most of you skip on breakfast on a regular. Its called breakfast for a reason, Break the Fast. Breakfast is so important before a run and to start your day because you are breaking your fast. The last time you probably ate was dinner 8 + hours ago. You are going to need energy to carry you through your race. So make sure to get something in your system 1-2 hours before your race. I usually eat a small bowl of rice, two eggs and I drink some coffee before my race. Remember… do not try anything new; eat a breakfast that you are used to. You don’t want to upset your tummy or digestive system before your race.

Take care of bathroom needs

·      Go through your daily cycle.  Trust me, you do not want to run while you have the urge to go. Porter potty’s are far and few between. It’s pretty uncomfortable to be in one of those blue boxes sweaty, out of breath and breathing in human waste. Sorry but I know all this too well from experience.

Dynamic warm up

·      It important to warm up your body but most importantly to wake up your neurological system.  It sounds cheesy but you do want your mind and body to start working as one. You will have a better start and better race if both are on the same track. Go through our GSFP Dynamic flexibility to warm up your body and brain.

Start slow

·      Yes this is a race and yes you want to finish as fast as possible. You also want to have a good race. Starting out slow allows your cardiovascular system and respiratory system to warm up and stabilize.  It is way more enjoyable trying to get negative splits then turning on the boosters at the beginning of the race, using all of your energy and struggling to finish. Plus if the race has photographers they are usually at the middle and end of the race. You want to make sure you are in a sweet stride and looking strong for the picture.

Water vs. electrolytes

·      It’s your preference. I like to drink the electrolytes during the race and pour the water on myself to cool off.  Water is great and can keep you hydrated. The benefit of the drinking electrolytes replenishes you with some carbs and salts. Remember… do not try anything new.  If it’s a brand you have never tried, just stick to water. Traditional coaches will say to drink at every water station to stay hydrated.  I suggest to only drink when you are thirsty. Drinking too many fluids can get you waterlogged and all of those fluids will be swishing around in your stomach. Very uncomfortable. Like in life… Everything in moderation.

Have a mantra or remind yourself why you are doing this

·      Sometimes midway through a race it gets tough. Having a motivational mantra can help you get through some tough times. I like to remind myself why I run.  Sometimes simply keeping a smile on my face gets me through the race.

Have Fun

·      This is rule #1! If you are not having fun than look forward to a long race. Yes we can get competitive and you want to beat the next person next to you or get a personal record, but make sure you are having fun doing it. I challenge you to encourage other runners around you. Dish out high fives to other runners or spectators. And most of all don’t forget to smile!


Good luck to you all at the Piedmont Turkey Trot and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!