Ask Naperville Running Company Staff: Racing Advice for High School Runners

By Kendra Benner

Naperville Running Company team member Emily Trent recently graduated from North Central College, where she ran cross country and track. As an aspiring coach, Emily loves helping young athletes succeed. Here is her racing advice for high school runners.

NRC: How can young runners deal with pre-race nerves?

ET: Here’s the key: you have to address nerves, not suppress them. Ask yourself, why am I nervous? Then talk yourself through it. If you’re nervous because you’re excited, remind yourself that it’s good to be excited. Or, if you’re nervous because you’re scared, remind yourself that you’ve run this distance numerous times.

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NRC: How should runners prepare the night before a race?

ET: I’m all about pre-race routines. I have a meal I eat before every race – salmon and mashed potatoes. Experiment with different foods and find what works best for your body, then stick with it. I also do visualizations the night before a race. For 10 minutes, I mentally run through how I want the race to go, which helps me feel calm on race day.

NRC: What's your #1 piece of racing advice for young runners?

ET: Have fun with racing. If you love running enough to do it every day, races are more exciting than nerve-wracking. A race is your chance to showcase your passion and hard work.