It’s race weekend! You are pumped up, and ready to run the PR you’ve been training for. There are quite a few things that can get in your way, regardless of your infinite enthusiasm, so avoiding those pitfalls will help ensure you have a great race. Before race day, you want to sit down and make a plan. Having a plan will ease race morning stress and taking these tips into account will help make sure your race day a great one.
Know what to wear. Check the weather and dress appropriately. Sweat wicking clothes are ideal, and if you plan on stripping off layers as you run, make sure you aren’t going to dump the one your number’s pinned to. Speaking of pins and numbers, plan on putting your race number on the night before the race, safety pins can be a pain, and the hassle isn’t worth the energy right before your big run. Save yourself as much work, and stress, as you can race morning.
Watch what you eat and drink. Ensure you’ve hydrated properly for the days leading up to the race, and eat things you know you can handle. Race week isn’t the time to try to Inferno Wings at the local bar. Dinner the night prior should have plenty of carbs without being acidic or rich. Acid can cause all sorts of problems, ranging from upset stomachs to heartburn, and nobody wants that on race day. Breakfast race morning should be what you usually eat before a run, something that provides carbohydrates and you know works, again avoiding rich or fatty foods.
Be early. Knowing your parking map and how far you might be from the start, while also accounting for traffic can help ease stress. Part of your planning should account for the time it takes to get into a parking spot, from there to the start, and the lines at the port-a-potty, should you need one. Arriving with time to spare will help keep you from feeling rushed, give you time to warm up and stretch out, and get your head in race mode.
Get plenty of sleep the night before the race. Like being early, this too will ease stress while also making sure your body and mind are well rested. Positive thoughts are incredibly important when you want to run a new PR, so being bright eyed and bushy tailed will keep you in the right frame of mind.
Pace yourself during the race, especially at the start. With starting line jam ups, your adrenaline pumping, the band rocking, and the crowd cheering, it’s tempting to sprint right out of there, but don’t waste your energy. Your training provided you with a good knowledge of how you want to pace yourself, so believe in it. You want to not only finish, but finish well, and burning out in the first two miles just won’t help.
Celebrate that you’ve finished. You just ran a race, and that’s hard work. You trained for weeks, probably months, and crossed the line. Give yourself a pat on the back, be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and be sure to hit the post race party to enjoy your moment.