With race day fast approaching, it’s time to focus on the little details which can help to make your race experience an enjoyable one. Whether this is your first race or you’re an experienced racer, there are some tips which everyone can benefit from to get the most out of their race day.
1-3 Days before:
- Check out the Course Map including where water stops and bathroom stops will be. Make sure you have a plan on how to get there on race morning and where you will park. The fewer “unknown details” you leave until later, the less stressful the experience will be.
- Don’t eat anything new in the day or two before, and ESPECIALLY on race morning. Stick with what you’ve had in the past an what you know works for you.
- Stay hydrated, but don’t over-do it. Focus on drinking well the day before your race, but don’t over-do it on race morning. Stop hydrating at least half an hour before your race. If you’ve hydrated well before-hand, you will be well topped up and won’t need to hit the port-a-potty at the first availability!
- Get your race outfit ready and pin your bib onto your shirt. The less fumbling you leave to early race morning, the better!
- Pack a bag with extra clothing for before and after the race. You will want to race in less than you’re comfortable standing around in, but you may be cool before, and you will cool-down quickly afterwards.
- Eat a good meal high in carbohydrates, but don’t overdo it. If you are too full you will still be digesting on race-morning.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep, but don’t stress if you don’t. Many people don’t sleep well the night before a big race but it hasn’t been shown to detract from performance. Relax, read a book, and try to follow your usual pre-bed routine.
- Don’t forget to set your alarm!
- Arrive early. An hour before will give you plenty of time to park, warm-up, use the washroom, check your bag, make any last-minute wardrobe adjustments, and find the start line without rushing.
- Visit the port-a-potties as soon as you get there. The sooner the better so you’re not stressing in the line-up.
- Bring clothing options. If it’s cool out you may want to consider “toss-able” clothing. Buy a pair of tube socks from the dollar store and cut out the feet for make-shift arm-warmers. Toss them at an aid station once you’ve warm-up. If it’s cool and raining at the start, bring a wear-able garbage bag with holes for the head and arms. Take it off right before the start so at least you can start dry!
- Pace yourself. Know your race plan and stick to it. It’s easy and common to get caught in the excitement and start off too fast. Starting out at a faster pace than you can sustain will cause you to slow down exponentially at the end. As the saying goes: “You can’t put time in the bank”.
- If you’re running with a buddy, chat beforehand about what your expectations are. What if one of you feels great and the other needs a break? Will you stick together or go separate ways? Don’t leave those decisions to mid-race.
- Be tough. Let’s be honest – whatever you’re trying to achieve – whether it’s completing a distance for the first time or hoping for a personal best time, achieving a goal is a challenge. There will likely come a point mid-race where you will feel that it is hard. Be prepared for it with positive self-talk mantras. Some effective phrases to repeat: “Light and quick”, “Feeling good”, “Relaxed and smooth”. Although you probably won’t actually be feeling this way, repeating it in your head will help your body to believe it and work through the tough parts.
The most important point is to finish with a feeling that you can and will do this again. Soak up the atmosphere and energy, enjoy the crowds and camaraderie, and have a fantastic race!