So today is the day huh? Whether this is your first race or 50th and no matter the distance, there are a few things you can do to make today a success.
1. Get there early.
Arrive at the race early. It’ll give you plenty of time to check in, and find the start and finish lines.
2. Eat no later than an hour before the race
You need fuel to run at your best. If you eat too closely to the start time time, you’ll likely get stomach cramps during the run. Having an and quick digesting carbohydrate source is a great idea pre race. A great brand that I trust and recommend is Tailwind Nutrition. They offer a wide range of pre and intra race products that won’t weigh you down. A local running shop, True Grit Running Company has a wide selection of their products along with many other running essentials.
3. And don’t go on a carbo load binge the day before
While plenty of complex carbohydrates will help fuel your run, there is no need to eat five pounds of pasta the day before. Grazing, or just eating smaller meals over the course of the night is a good strategy.
4. Pick up your packet early
Pick up your packet early. Most races allow you to pick up your packets the day before the race. Do it, it’ll be one less thing to worry about the day of the race
5. Study up
Know your course. Whether you decide to run the course ahead of time, or just train on certain sections of the race knowing the course has it’s benefits. You will know where you will need to push, and where you can coast. Also know when your start time is. It sounds obvious, but a lot of people overlook it. Most races will have hydration stations around the course, know where those are, it’ll be crucial to how you run.
6. Be hydrated, but don’t drown yourself
The day before the race is your time to hydrate. You should aim for half your body weight in ounces the day before. So for example, if you weigh 200lbs, you should take in 100 ounces in water a day. Don’t wake up the morning of the race and try to chug water. On race day, you will want to sip water. By 30 minutes before the start, you should just be sipping water if you are taking water in at all.
7. Don’t overdress and dress appropriately
On race day, it is most likely going to be pretty cool at first. Don’t put on too many layers. Dress for 20 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. A good strategy, is to wear something you can take off to the race. Warm up, and take off a layer or two before the race actually starts. Also, don’t wear a brand new pair of shoes on race day. One of the most important items that you own, is your shoes. Don’t put on any shoes that you haven’t had any chance to break in yet.
7. Fix it early
Whatever it is, fix it early. If your shoe is coming untied, don’t wait for it to become completely untied, stop and tie it. If you are likely to chaffe, use an anti-chafing product )two great products here and here). Some of these issues may seem small in the beginning, but can balloon closer to the end of the race.
After the race
1. Get warm.
If it’s raining, get into some dry clothes. If it is just cold, put some layers back on.
2. Keep moving
After your cross that finish line, keep moving. Spend 10-15 minutes on cooling down, and getting your heart rate back down. Walking also will help you avoid stiffness and cramping.
Now it is time to refuel. Most races will over some kind of snack or food after the race. These items might not always be the healthiest option, so it may be a good idea to bring something like a granola bar or power bar. Look for something that has some protein and and carbohydrates in it.
4. Get going
The day after your race, you most likely will feel sore. But now is the perfect time to get moving again. You don’t need to go out and run a few miles, but doing something light and easy whether it is spending some time the foam roller, hopping on the bike or swimming a few laps will help you recover faster
Lastly, have fun. You’ve trained for this race and now you’re ready. Get out there and enjoy every mile of that race.
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