Run Your Best Race

The Cherry Blossom Festival is under way, and in just a few days we will be lining up at the Washington Monument getting ready to enjoy The Runner’s Rite of Spring®! Whether this is your first race, your first time doing the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, or your first race of 2015, we’d like to share our tips to help you run your best race.

Run Your Best Race

Now. Download the CUCB app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play (search for CUCB or Credit Union Cherry Blossom). The app will help you get the most out of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom experience, with a schedule and maps for all weekend events, live results, real-time tracking, bib-look-up, and Run Pix results.

If you haven’t already, set your goals for the race. It’s great to have three different goals: a time/pace goal (like finishing under 90:00), an achievement goal (like running the whole way) and an ego goal (like finally take a great finish line photo).

Consider making a donation to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. You can donate through my donations page here or look up the donation page for another runner here.

children's miracle network hospitals
Give a miracle!

Thursday. Elite runners have been watching their diets for weeks, but the rest of us can at least try to make healthy choices in the days leading up to the race. Make sure you are drinking enough water every day so you are fully hydrated come Sunday.

Friday. Visit the expo, which is open from 3:00 – 7:45 pm on Friday. Get your bib, your official race t-shirt, shop for more official Credit Union Cherry Blossom apparel, browse the other vendor booths and attend motivational and informational clinics. Take time to listen to the guest speakers, ask questions and get autographs. The energy of the event will get you excited for race day!

Saturday. If you didn’t go Friday, make sure you get to the expo, which is open from 9:00 am – 4:45 pm on Saturday. (There is no packet pick-up on Sunday.)

If you are from out of town, you probably will want to do some sightseeing, but don’t overdo it! You don’t want your legs to be too tired on Sunday.

Review the course maps with your spectators and decide where they should be. There are usually big crowds along Independence Avenue, but Hains Point can get pretty lonely. Make sure they know what you will be wearing so they can spot you easily to cheer you on.

Plan an early dinner. This is probably not the best time to try that new ethnic place you’ve been hearing about, but Elizabeth swears by steak with blueberry sauce from Aqua Al 2 in Eastern Market, while Natalie suggests dinner at the Georgetown waterfront.

Lay out all of your clothes and gear, from your hat and sunglasses to your socks and shoes. Make sure your GPS watch is charged, your water bottle is ready to go, and you’ve picked out any fuel you plan to carry. Remember, you don’t want to be trying anything new on race day. Even your underwear should be tried and true. Many runners go commando, but if you are more comfortable in underwear, you don’t want to find out the hard way which pair will give you a wedgie from mile 2 to mile 10. 😉

Get to bed early and make sure your alarm(s) are set correctly!


Sunday. Get up early enough to leave plenty of time to get ready and get to the race venue. Have breakfast or bring something to eat before the race.

At the race venue, take advantage of the pre-race warm-up, and scout out the finish area to plan where you will meet your family and friends. Check your bag early – it will be less stressful and give you time to relax before the race starts.

If you feel lost or confused, ask a volunteer for help! They will help point you in the right direction and ease your pre-race jitters.

Line up with your corral, and soak up the experience. There is something so moving about listening to the National Anthem at the base of the Washington Monument with 15,000 other runners.

Once the race starts, try to stay in the moment and enjoy the mile you are in! This is such a beautiful course–don’t be so focused on your pace that you forget to look around and enjoy it. It looks like the cherry blossoms could be in peak bloom this weekend, which would be spectacular!

As you approach the finish line, make sure you are smiling–no matter how hard you are pushing yourself! Pain is temporary, put race photos are forever. 😀

… and keep moving through the finish area, grab a water bottle and post for a post-race picture. If you ordered a medal, don’t forget to pick it up!

Celebrate your finish! You deserve it!

After The Race. We will be hosting a Race Recap Link-Up, so if you write about your race experience on your blog, be sure to come back here and link up your post!

~ The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Social Media Team
(Coco, Elizabeth, Kim, Malinda, Molly, Natalie)

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