Thanksgiving Day 30A 10K: 5 Tips to Boost Your Race Time

The Thanksgiving Day 30A 10K is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have time to step up your pace. Whether you’re looking to PR or just cross the finish line at a goal pace, check out these tips from 30A 10K race director Karen Meadows. And if you haven’t signed up yet, don’t miss this family-friendly holiday tradition, racing from Rosemary Beach down Scenic Highway 30A, through Alys Beach and over the beautiful, serene Camp Creek Lake. It’s a great way to start your holiday, supporting local charities and getting some much-needed exercise before our big holiday meals. Sign up for the Thanksgiving Day 30A 10K here! Here are 5 tips for your pre-race training. Happy racing! 1. Run up the stairs at any of our public beach accesses Explosive hill sprints are great for training, the idea being that you power up the hill like a sprinter coming out of the blocks. They strengthen your legs, improve your running form and boost the function of your neuromuscular system. How to do it: Run at maximum effort for 10-15 seconds up a steep hill or stairs with at least a 7 to 10 percent grade. Follow with a full two- to three-minute rest, jogging downhill or walking, so that you’re fully recovered before starting again. Repeat four times. 2. Run through the nature trails of South Walton Running on soft surfaces lessens the impact on your joints and allows you to recover faster so its great for training. Running on uneven surfaces also helps strengthen muscles and improve running form by recruiting more of the smaller, more stabilizing muscles that we rely on for balance, especially around the ankles.  As an added bonus, the sounds of birds and trees rustling in the wind is really peaceful and soothing to the soul. It really is! How to do it: The South Walton Community Council has a brochure listing the nature trails in South Walton, including The Point Washington State Forest, the Topsail Hill Preserve and Eden Gardens State Park. 3. Perform functional strength exercises along Scenic Highway 30A Not only is it important to practice actually running, but you should also perform exercises that train the body for running. The neighborhoods along Scenic Highway 30A, like Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach and Seaside, have green spaces that are perfect for practicing to strengthen these muscles. How to do it: Try walking lunges or step ups on a low stair or bench. Challenge yourself by seeing how long you can hold a plank or a wall sit. Perform skipping and hopping drills as well. 4. Cross-train to give your running muscles a break Cross training is important and many coaches believe cross training can be especially helpful for runners who are injury prone and 40 years or older. As a USA Triathlon Coach, I know cycling increase leg strength and cardiovascular fitness without major stress on the joints. Swimming works the upper body and for while providing excellent active recovery for runners. How to do it: Hit the bike path, the pool or the Gulf of Mexico to get some cross training in to your training plan. 5. Refuel with a healthy meal The minutes and hours after a workout is an important time for refueling your body with what it needs to recover. Go for a carbohydrate first, but also try to ingest a protein within the hour. Adding protein will help repair any muscle damage from your workout and help you recover more quickly for your next run. And don’t forget to re-hydrate, especially in the hot and humid months! How to do it: A simple bagel with peanut or almond butter or some chocolate milk will do the trick. Or, check out some of these options for where to get a healthy meal in South Walton. Karen Meadows is a USA Track and Field certified coach who lives in Panama City Beach, Florida. She is also the race director for the 30A 10K that takes place each Thanksgiving Day morning in Rosemary Beach, Florida. Karen trains beginners, competitive-age groupers and elite runners and triathletes. Read More

Mark Your Calendars for the 30A Half Marathon & 5K — October 15

Runners can now register for the second annual 30A Half Marathon and 5K, which will take place October 15, 2017. The race, put on by The Sonder Project, a global nonprofit organization in Santa Rosa Beach,  will start and end at Gulf Place, taking runners along 13.1 miles of beautiful Scenic Highway 30-A. The turnaround point will be the […] Read More

It’s Not Too Late! Here’s How to Train for the 30A Half Marathon

By Caroline Giddis This fall’s inaugural 30A Half Marathon and 5K on October 23 is coming up fast, but now’s the perfect time to sign up and start training for this beautiful race along Scenic Highway 30A. Whether you’re a couch-to-5K beginner or a regular triathlete, we know training and preparing is what will get you through to the finish line. So we asked Donna Harris, owner of Run With It, a running and fitness store in nearby Fort Walton Beach, for some tips for how to prepare for this great fall race. 1.  Get fitted in proper running shoes to help prevent injury. The right shoes will keep you from suffering from shin splints, knee pain or lower back pain. 2.  Pick the right program. Choose a half marathon training program that fits your schedule and stick with it. If you’re starting at the end of August, you will need an eight-week program or less. Try to train on a course similar to the one you will be racing on. The 30A Half Marathon will run from Gulf Place to Watercolor and back, along the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, past several pristine coastal dune lakes and, yes, over a few slight hills. Review the course map and try to train under similar conditions. 3.  Incorporate cross training into your schedule. Cycling, yoga, swimming and walking are all great ways to cross train. The best thing to do is keep challenging your muscles in different ways. 4.  Hydration is vital, especially in the Florida heat and humidity. While the weather should cool off by late October, highs can still be in the upper 70s and low 80s and the Florida humidity can rear its head pretty much through any season. Drinking plenty of water and electrolyte drinks will ensure that you don’t get dehydrated.  We recommend Nuun hydration tablets and coconut water as low-sugar options. 5.  Don’t forget nutrition. We suggest eating something before your run to help sustain energy so you won’t “bonk” or feel drained.  Toast, bananas or an english muffin with a little peanut butter seem to work for a lot of people. Try some different foods before several of your training runs and see what works for you. Other forms of nutrition are gels, gummies, energy beans and waffles.  You can find these at your local running store.  Practice with some of these products before race day, there’s nothing worse than a “gut bomb” at mile 10! 6.  Socks matter. Remember, cotton socks are the enemy because they trap moisture and don’t dry out, leaving your foot vulnerable to hot spots. Moisture-wicking synthetic-blend socks will help you rock the half blister-free! 8.  Don’t forget to stretch. Always warm up with walking or light stretching, but post-run stretching and foam rolling your muscles are the most important steps in preventing injury. Don’t forget to take rest days, either. Giving your body a break is just as necessary as running. 7.  Protect your skin too! Sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses are a must in our area. You don’t want to end up sunburned AND sore. 9. Plan ahead to prevent race day jitters. The night before, set out everything you will need: your race number, safety pins, your outfit, shoes, socks, water belt, sunglasses and nutrition. Run through your morning routine in advance. Remember, nothing new on race day! 10. Enjoy your run! This race’s route goes by some of the most beautiful scenery in our part of the world. Take time to enjoy it and be proud of your accomplishment. It’s a gorgeous spot to run a half marathon, so don’t forget to look around and have some fun! Donna Harris is the co-owner of Run With It in Fort Walton Beach and a proud sponsor of the 30A Half Marathon and 5K, which will be October 23 in Santa Rosa Beach. Sign up now at! Read More