Friday, March 10, 2017

Pre Race and Race Day Tips

Running a race can bring lots of anxious energy (speaking from experience) and the last thing I need is to worry about the small stuff.  Here are a few tips that I follow.  I hope you find them valuable!

Pre Race (a few days leading up to your race)

1.  Pick up your bib BEFORE race day.  If you race has an expo, go to the expo 2 days before you race.  If the only day you can attend is the day before, try to go early and don't spend too much time walking around.  

2.  Plan your race morning – know the location, driving directions, parking, road closures and alternate routes.  I like to be at a big race at least 1 hour to 1 ½ hours before.  That allows you to park, drop your bag off at baggage claim, and get settled....and of course stand in line for the port a potties!

3.  Study the course map.  Know where the hydration tables are, medical tents, inclines - this will help you plan your race day strategy.  

4.  Lay your clothes out the night before, charge your watch, and pack your BIB.  Don’t leave important things to the morning.  I would pack whatever bag you plan to bring the night before.  

5.  Hydrate…start thinking about your water intake on Thursday.  Don’t wait until Friday night to start drinking water.  This is not the time to try anything new with your food.  Eat whatever you have eaten before your training runs.  I like to eat more carbs 2 nights before and a smaller portion with a bigger protein portion the night before.  That works for me - do what works for you. I would avoid any heavy creams or sugary foods.  

6.  Plan a meet up spot for friends and family. Some races can be really crowded at the finish, so choose a spot to meet family and friends after the race.  

Race Day

1.  Do NOT wear anything new, do not eat anything new, do not drink anything new.  Stick to what you have done during your training.   You may want to see what hydration and supplements the race will be using and try that during your training runs.  

2. Start relaxed and slower than the pace you want.  Don’t get swept up with the crowds.  Your adrenaline will be going and you’ll feel like you can conquer the world…then mile 3 hits….and you wonder why you're putting yourself through this torture!!  Start slow, finish fast and strong!

3.  Run the tangents, meaning run the shortest course possible.  They measure the distance a few feet from the curbs, not the middle of the road.  Run the shortest path possible so you're not mad at your Garmin at the end of the race ;-) 

4.  Water stops – skip the first few tables – hit up the last ones that will be less crowded.  Don’t be afraid to yell as you approach a table – water? Gatorade?  Open your gels before you hit the water stop.  I will eat mine before I get there so I can just grab the cup and go. 

5.  Mantra – find one that works for you and repeat it over and over! Here are a few I found from other runners.
* Can't stop. Won't stop.
* The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
* Not everybody can do this!
* Start slow, Finish fast
* One step at a time.
* Be fierce. Be bold.
* Run strong. Be brave.
* Go light. Feel brave.
* Think strong. Be strong. Run Strong.
* Make mom proud!

Mine is I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Phil. 4:13

6.  Most of all, enjoy the moments.  The pain will go away, your chest will stop pounding, your legs will recovery...that moment of crossing the finish line and the pride that follows will always be there! Not everyone has the dedication, determination, and motivation to start.  You are AMAZING and a little bit of a freak ;-) 

I hope you find these helpful in planning for your next race.  If you have some race tips, please comment below.  Let me know how your race goes!


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