A Doctor’s Approved Guide to Preparing for the Sun Run

We sat down with Dr. Morrish from the UBC Sport and Exercise Medicine Clinic to ask how to best prepare for the Vancouver Sun Run. Below are a few tips from an industry expert to help you have your best run possible.

Dr. Morrish from the UBC Sport and Medicine Clinic

Weeks Before the Run

Consider where you’re at. You may be an avid runner who knows your splits and has a good idea of how this distance will feel at your pace. Or you may not be as running-focused and feel some uncertainty about how the run will go. If this sounds like you, consider a trial run of a similar distance. Start at an easy leisurely pace, or try a walk-run approach alternating between running for one minute and then walking for one minute until you reach your distance goal. 

Reducing injury risk starts with training and racing within the limits of your body, but first you need to know those limits. Knowing what to expect from your body, and from the demands of the race itself, before you start the race is more than half the battle. In the coming weeks, get out and see what you can do!

The Day Before the Run

No matter how mentally prepared you feel for this experience, make the extra effort to protect time to prepare for the big day. Here are some items to consider making time for the day before the Sun Run:

  1. Sleep: Research has shown time and again that good sleep before athletic events reduces injury risk and improves performance. The old adage of “eight hours per night” doesn’t apply to everyone so do what works best for you.
  2. Hydration: There’s no need to over-hydrate leading up to the race, but it is important to stay well hydrated the day before you run, that includes avoiding dehydrating yourself the day (or night) before the race. 
  3. Nutrition: Do your best to eat well over the course of the day before the race. Avoid foods that may disrupt your regular digestive function such as large amounts of red meat, heavy or greasy meals for dinner, and any meal with very high salt content. 
  4. Loosen the legs: Get some exercise the day before by going for a light jog and doing some dynamic stretching. Don’t overdo it by working out too hard the day before, but make sure to get your blood flowing to limber-up prior to the big day.
1996 Joseph Kimani, from Kenya, comes across the finish line at 27:31. Ian smith/Vancouver Sun


The Morning Before the Run

Give yourself added time to get through your morning routine and arrive at the starting line with time to spare. The Sun Run is a very well-attended event which may make access to the area slower than usual. You may want to find ten minutes to warm up before you get to the actual venue because you may not be able to do so once you’ve joined the crowd. 

After the Run

You did it! Time to rehydrate and replenish. Electrolyte beverages and simple carbs are your friends here. Don’t forget to bring warm dry clothes to change into after the race and find some time to stretch once the finish line excitement settles down.


Have fun, and don’t forget to stop by the post-race party in BC Place once you cross the finish line!



Photograph: © Vancouver Sun Run / Rob Schaer




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