Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-time racer, the days before a race can be quite stressful. You put in several weeks of hard work and training, and want to arrive at the start line feeling healthy, energized, and ready to run your best!
Here are a few things to keep in mind in the days before the race:
Cover the route beforehand if possible: Running the course ahead lets you familiarize yourself with the terrain, and identify points where you’ll have to push hard. Knowing where the race starts will prevent you from getting lost on race morning, so you’re not late!
Rest: In the final week before race day, you should increase your rest, recovery and sleep. It’s important after training to give your body time to recover. This will leave your legs feeling fresh for race day.
Don’t try anything new: This is definitely not the time to try new foods, new running gear, shoes, sports drinks or gels. It’s best to stick with what you trained with.
Hydrate: Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Stay hydrated the day before by drinking half your body weight in ounces. On the race morning, drink when you wake up, but try to limit your fluids 30 minutes prior to start.
Prepare your race gear: Lay out your race clothes and accessories the night before. If you already have your bib, fasten it to your shirt so all you have to do in the morning is get dressed. It’s easy to forget something on race day, so make a list to remind you of everything you need to take with you.
Wake up early: Get up a little early to get yourself prepared. Your body will function better if you’ve been up for a few hours. If you are hungry, eat a pre-race snack like half a banana or toast with peanut butter.
Arrive early: Get to the start of the race before the start. This allows time for you to check out the start, and make any last minute bathroom or car trips.
Identify yourself: Put your name, address and cell number on your race bib. There are accessories like RoadID that can be worn on your wrist or shoe.
Most importantly, have fun: “The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself to the greatest extent possible. When you do that, you have dignity. You have the pride. You can walk about with character and pride no matter in what place you happen to finish.” – Billy Mills, former (1964) Olympic Gold Medalist, 10,000 meters.