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Argh!  It’s time to batten down the hatches ‘fore the most enjoyable run of the season is upon us! Yo ho ho and away you go. Whether you’re running in the 5K, 10K, 15K or half marathon sprint, it’s time to heave ho and run until you capture your “booty” (and cross the finish line), so shiver me timbers and get excited!

Did you get all of that? No? Argh, it’s just a little Pirate humor for ye! The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic will be here before you know it. The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic, held February 24th and 25th this year, is a road race at Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida. More than 30,000 runners and walkers participate each year.

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The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic features six different races for runners to choose from. There is something for everyone to participate in, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced runner. For those who want to walk, you can participate in the 5K Walk. Listed below are the events. The Gasparilla weekend also includes the “8 On Your Side Health & Fitness Expo” that is free to attend. Find more information here.


Saturday, February 24, 2018:

  • 15K
  • 5K
  • 5K Stroller Roll
  • 5K Walk

Sunday, February 25, 2018:

  • 8K
  • Half Marathon

With all this talk about the Gasparilla run, we thought you might want some tips to prepare for the weekend. Our Training Tips provide information about nutrition and exercise, arranged in order of training intensity from walkers and beginning runners to experienced runners.

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Plan Your Plate

Whether or not this is your first race, you should fuel your body with the proper nutrition.

  • Focus on fruits.
  • Vary your veggies.
  • Make at least half your grains whole.
  • Go lean with protein.

Tips for Smart Stretching
As you train for your big race, don’t forget to stretch. Before stretching, spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up to prevent injury. Consider easy walking or light jogging for a simple warm up.

  • Don’t bounce a stretch. Holding a stretch is more effective and less likely to result in injury.
  • Don’t strain or push a muscle too far. If a stretch hurts, ease up.
  • Don’t hold your breath during the stretch. Continue to breathe normally.

Snack on the Go

Snacks provide you with an extra boost in the morning or late afternoon. Try to keep a stash of nutritious snack foods with you at work or while you’re on the go.

  • Opt for foods that satisfy your hunger.
  • Supply your body with energy, and provide beneficial nutrients.
  • When shopping at Publix, select snacks using our green Better Choice shelf tags.

Buy Proper Clothes
You don’t have to buy the latest flashy model of running shoes, but you should invest in proper footwear. Purchase a good pair of running shoes designed for your arch and stride. If you’re not sure which type of shoe you need, visit a local running specialty store to be properly fitted.

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Fuel Your Longer Workouts

Just as what you eat before exercise greatly affects your energy levels, so does what you eat during extensive exercise. These nutrition guidelines are especially important for endurance events lasting longer than an hour. If you are doing a shorter session for 30 to 45 minutes, a pre-exercise snack and plenty of water should fuel you well. Smart choices include sports drinks that contain carbohydrates and electrolytes, as well as water and easily digested carbohydrate-rich foods—bananas, gels, gummy chews or bite-size pieces of low-fat granola or sports bars

Help Your Recovery

Consuming the appropriate fluids and foods after exercise may aid your recovery. After workouts, especially long runs, hydration is the first priority. Ideally, the goal is to replace any fluid lost during your run. A sports drink will help you retain more fluid, aiding the rehydration process. Eating watery foods like soup, fruits and vegetables will also rehydrate your body.

Eat to Boost Performance

Play with your pre-workout nutrition to determine the best timing to eat and your tolerance for foods. Everyone is different, so listen to your body rather than advice from a friend or an article from a running magazine. Whatever you choose to eat before a workout, keep these tips in mind:

  • To maintain blood sugar levels, choose foods high in carbohydrates.
  • To minimize stomach issues, opt for low-fat, low-fiber foods that are easily digested.
  • Don’t forget about fluids to maintain your hydration.

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Now that you have all the tips and tricks to make this your best run yet, we can’t wait to see you at the 2018 Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic. It’s time for you to batten down the hatches ‘fore the most enjoyable run of the season is upon us! Yo ho ho and away you go!

Matthew L.

Written by

Matthew L. started with Publix in 2009. After working his way up to a Publix Manager, Matthew decided to make a change from retail and pursue his passion for writing. Matthew enjoys hearing stories from the people he's writing about and loves the Publix culture. Outside of work, Matthew enjoys spending time with his wife and their dog, Edmund. They love to explore all that Central Florida has to offer.

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