It doesn’t take a genius to know its important to do your workouts, train hard and show up for the race. The following tips are important ones I have discovered that fly a little more under the radar. Best part about these is none of them require you to train more.

1. SLEEP MORE
If you are going to be strict about ONE THING, make it sleep. Even if you didn’t train any harder, sleeping 9 hours a night will make you faster. Its when you are sleeping that you absorb all your hard work. Your sleep is worth more than gold. Protect it. Its worth your friends thinking you’re lame for having a bedtime.

2. DITCH THE SUGAR
Give up sweets 5 days a week and you will get sick less, recover better, and run faster. If a muscle cell only lives for 6 months before a new one takes its place, in 6 months, every muscle in your body will be replaced by new muscles, and they will be built out of the foods that you eat. You literally are what you eat! You will run a lot faster made of real food than gummy worms!

3. CARRY A WATER BOTTLE
Buy a bottle you really like, because it will never leave your side. It will be either in your hand, your backpack, or on your bedside table. Pop a fizzy vitamin packet in there in the morning to keep in interesting, and please don’t let it get moldy and disgusting. That’s just gross.

4. SOAK IN THE FIELD
Right before the race or the warm-up, take a minute to lay down in the grass, close your eyes, and breathe. I call this soaking in the field, and I lay there until I feel like I’m sinking into the ground and the world starts to slowly swirl around me. I tune out everything else and a moment later, I know its time to get up and have some fun. I don’t get up until I feel grounded and calm.

5. ALWAYS EXPECT THE RACE TO HURT LIKE HELL
No matter how fit you get, the race will be hard. I know, its not fair…at some point the reward for hard work should be that racing is easy. Well, its not. When you feel like caving in, repeat this in your mind, “I train to handle pain.” You will beat people simply because you are willing to hurt more than they are.