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You’ve done your training. You’ve put in your time. Now it’s time to finally gear up for race day. Whether it’s your first 5k or your hundredth marathon, you never know completely what to expect. What if it rains? What if you’re late? What if your dog ate your lucky running shoes? Of course there are some things we have no control over, but we want you to be as prepared as possible so you can enjoy the day and of course have a great race!
We’ve talked about stretching for runners. We told you what to expect when training for your first race. And today is all about offering tips for the big day. Our first suggestion? Talk to other runners who have already gotten their feet wet with a few races. In fact, we took care of that part for you. To make sure your hard training pays off with a great race, we asked experienced runners for their best race day tips.
So, without further ado, bring on the race day expertise!
1. “The number one tip I would have is to NEVER wear new running clothes before a race. OR SHOES. Chafing, foot pain…and the end result is you’ll have a miserable race.” ~ Emily Guenther / blog / Instagram
We heard this race day tip from more than one runner. That tells us it’s pretty important. Always wear shoes and clothing you know you are comfortable running in. Not only will wearing a different pair of shoes or new shorts be potentially uncomfortable, you’re risking injury. We know it’s tempting to pull on those new kicks or purchase running gear from your favorite sponsor on race day, but resist! You can enjoy those perks after you’ve crossed the finish line.
2. “Have a race day plan. Stick to the race day plan.” ~ Aleksandra Todorova / website
There’s a lot to plan for when it comes to race day. Set your alarm. Dress appropriately. Eat a fueling breakfast. Get on the road. You get the gist. Make a plan a week before race day. A few things to plan ahead of time include your race day outfit, what time you need to be out of the house, and ensuring your bag is packed at least two nights prior. Your excitement on the morning of the race might make it hard to stay on track, but stick to the plan! Even a minor switch up could throw the whole thing off. And we want race day to be darn near perfect.
3. “Hydrate the night before.” ~ Dixya Bhattarai / blog
This might seem like a given, but it’s easy to forget to do something as simple as drinking water. Taking in plenty of H2O the day before a race is a must for a well-hydrated body. In addition to this, keep alcohol and caffeine to a minimum. Scratch that. Eliminate alcohol completely. Your morning cup of Joe is okay, but we suggest capping it off there.
4. “Don’t try anything new on race day. Stick to foods that fuel your body.” ~ Emily Knight / blog
Mom made pancakes this morning? Can’t resist the urge to stop for a donut? Don’t do it! Honestly – eat a pre-run breakfast you’ve tried before. There are a handful of unwanted consequences that could follow a new meal. It could alter your energy, slow you down, or flat out not agree with you. Races don’t come along everyday. Don’t ruin it by deviating from your usual routine.
5. “Start the race off slow, conserve energy and then finish strong!” ~ Jason Goldman / Instagram
It’s really easy to leave the starting line faster than a rocket ship blasting into space. But unless you want to burn out after the first mile, we suggest ignoring that urge and pacing yourself appropriately. You might see others around you sprinting like madmen, but we promise they won’t be moving that fast at mile 4 or 5. Listen to your body. Start off conservatively and ease into your goal pace.