Tuesday, August 13, 2013


You are trained and ready, but if you've never run a race before, you probably have lots of questions and plenty of nervousness about the big day.  Here are a few things to help you on race day.

Get up early - It's better to be too early than too late on race day. 

Eat breakfast - Whatever works best for you to eat before your long runs is what you should eat.  You've experimented with your options during training, now go with what you know is best. 

Hydrate - make sure you drink water and/or sports drink the morning of the race.  Don't overdo it, but get some liquid in you.  Again, the amount you normally drink before a long run, is what you should go with.

Check the weather/temperature - While you checked the night before, you know that weather in the Pacific Northwest is quite often unpredictable.  You may need to grab a jacket or shed some layers.  Either way, make sure you're ready.

Make sure your clothing is comfortable - If that pesky tag is annoying you now, it may become all you can think about while you run. Take care of any wardrobe issues before you leave.  And, take the opportunity to apply your anti-chafing product to those trouble spots, even if you think you don't need it. 

Grab your supplies - That includes your race bib and safety pins if you picked them up the day before.  Since you got everything ready to go the night before, you should be able to just grab and go.  

Leave early - Make sure you have plenty of time to get to the race location.  Account for traffic, parking, etc.  If you need to pick up your race packet on the morning of the race, allow for time to stand in line for packet pick-up.

Use the restroom - Go before you leave home and go again once you're at the race location.  If you're like me, nerves may make you need to go several times before the race starts.  Leave yourself plenty of time to wait in line, as everyone else will be doing the same thing.  While there are usually port-a-potties along the route, you really don't want to have to stop mid-race.  (But, if it's necessary, it is certainly OK to stop!)

Prepare your body to run -  If you have a usual pre-run warm-up, do it!  If not, focus on moving all of your joints in every direction to prepare all of your muscles to run.  Running involves your entire body, so prepare everything, not just the legs.

Run your own race - Mentally prepare yourself for how you are going to run this race.  Don't let others change your plan.  This is your race.  You trained for it, now go get it done!  Enjoy the run.


You've been training for months.  You've run the distance, now you're anticipating the big day.  The day before race day is still part of your training.  It is important not to forget that you've got a big run ahead of you, so your body needs to stay prepared. 

The day before. . . . .

Continue to hydrate - Drink plenty of water the day before your race, as well as the entire week leading up to race day.  Just because you aren't running as much, doesn't mean your body doesn't need fluids.

Fuel properly - What you eat the day before your race does matter!  Continue to eat regular, healthy meals. Skipping meals or downing junk food is not an option.  Your body needs proper fuel, especially if you are running a longer race.  You don't necessarily need to carb load the night before a race - current research is moving away from this concept - but eat a well-balanced meal that your body is used to.  My favorite pre-race meal is spaghetti with meat sauce and salad.  The protein, carbs, and veggies work great for my body when running long.  Figure out what works best for you and stick with it.

No late-day caffeine - If your body is sensitive to caffeine, don't have that late afternoon cup of coffee.  The last thing you want is to miss out on much needed sleep on this all-important night.

Charge your electronics - Do you need your iPod or MP3 player for your run?  Charge it!  Losing your music half-way through a long run can be a real distraction.  Avoid that pitfall by making sure you've got sufficient power.  Do you wear a heart rate monitor or GPS device to help you run the correct pace and/or track your mileage?  Make sure it's on the charger before you go to bed. 

Check the forecast - If you know what elements you'll be facing, you can choose the proper running clothes and gear.

Get your clothing and gear out and ready - Once you know what you're going to wear, get it out.  You may even want to try everything on to make sure it's comfortable.  Last minute wardrobe changes can eat up your valuable morning prep time.  And, while you're at it, get out anything you plan to bring with you; like gels, snacks, water, anti-chafing product, chapstick, gum, money, etc.  Most importantly, make sure you have a pocket or somewhere to put your car key or whatever you need with you on the run. 

Check the race website and/or informational email - Double check to make sure you know what time the race starts and where it is.  If you haven't been there before, map it out in advance so you know how much time you'll need.  Getting lost on the way to a race is definitely no way to start your day. 

Set your alarm -  Need I say more

Go to bed at a decent hour - Get a good 8 hours of sleep if at all possible.  Your body will thank you in the morning and throughout the race.

You are ready.  Don't forget to enjoy the run!