Whether you’re an experienced racer or a brand new one, race day can be stressful. But with a little bit of planning and some motivation you’re sure to knock ’em dead. Enjoy these race day “hacks” for a better race experience.
Day Before the Race
- Learn the course so you know what to expect.
- Plan your race pace. Are you trying to beat your personal record (PR) or just trying to finish? Know your goal!
- Check the weather forecast, decide what you’ll wear, and pull it out.
- Decide on the warm-up clothing you’ll wear, if any, and pull that out as well.
- Get out your race shoes, hat/visor if you wear one and your sunglasses.
- If you’ve checked in and received your race number, put it on your race shirt/singlet. It’s best to put your race number on while wearing your shirt.
- Eat a quality pre-race meal. Eat early, and then have a light snack before bed.
- Drink enough water so that you’re hydrated. But don’t over do it.
- Set your alarm! Heck set two alarms, you don’t want to be late!
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Get up early enough so that you’re not rushed. Give yourself plenty of time for bathroom breaks.
- Eat a light meal, or get your calories from a meal replacement shake or other liquid source. Don’t eat a heavy meal within several hours of the race.
- Plan your drive time so that you arrive at the race venue early.
- Get in the restroom line.
- Get your race number and pin it on, if not done yet.
- Drink water.
- Warm up slowly, such as an easy jog followed by light stretching, followed by another jog which includes a handful of pick-ups (strides).
- Line up at the start line early enough so you can get in the right area, but not too early that you end up standing there and losing the benefit of your warm-up. Keep your blood moving as you wait.
- Remind yourself of your pace goal, plus whether and where you’ll get water and/or sports drink on the course.
When the Gun Goes Off
- Don’t get caught up in the excitement of the start by going too fast. Pace yourself.
- Stick to your plan as long as possible. You should have enough reserve in order to speed up as you near the finish line.
Plan your race and race your plan! It’s a great guideline for all athletes.
Photo credit: I Run Flint