Things you need to know for the big day
Whether you are preparing for your first race or your 50th you have probably experienced by now how nerve wracking racing can be. To help put you in the best position for a successful run I am going to share with you many of the race day tips that have helped me. Let’s start a few days before the big day because, believe it or not, that is when you can begin banking precious time for your upcoming race by harnessing all that hard work you have done to prepare.
Sleep - Get your best Z’s two nights before. Pre-race jitters tend to strike the night before the race, interrupting your sleep.
Plan, Strategize, Visualize - Breaking down your run into smaller segments will give you immediate short term goals to focus on and make the entire race seem manageable.
Go light - Whether physiological or psychological, you gain a sense of speed and fluidity by running in a performance trainer or racing flat. Make sure you experiment with this before your race.
Lay out all your gear the night before. Your man will love a little pre-race fashion show. Just remind him that it’s lights out early and no funny stuff!
Bring your own TP. Lines at the Port-a-John can delay you getting to the start on time. You may find yourself seeking the closest bush or shrub.
Arrive early - You will be thankful to have plenty of time for Port-a-Potty and warm up. Besides a late arrival will only add unnecessary stress
Warm up - Allow yourself at least 20 minutes or more to do some easy running with accelerations.
Make time, get in line - Don’t be the first to show up at the start since the extra wait will only make you anxious. Keep an eye on the clock and join with runners that are closest to your speed.
Relax, unless you’re Aaron Rodgers then your probably already pretty relaxed
Look for space once the horn goes off - Achieve a little “daylight” between you and other runners, about two stride lengths.
Be patient, particularly early in race - Do not bob and weave through the starting pack like a punt returner. You’re wasting valuable energy and only running further than you need to.
Pace yourself, remember to run your race! - This is the MOST important advice of all! At the start of a race, the build up of energy and nerves can be overwhelming for many runners and they sabotage all their training by going out in a mad dash. Know yourself and follow your race plan by going out in a controlled and steady pace. Ignore what other runners may be doing around you, more than likely you will be passing by MANY of them later in the race.
Be positive - A positive mantra is helpful when things start to get tough. Practice a few of these affirmations during some of your harder training runs so they become automatic on race day.
Drink, splash water on your head and shoulders. We Arizonans don’t need to be reminded of this!
Breath, trust your training, and embrace the pain, it will be over soon.
Eat and Drink - You need fluids to rehydrate and some carbs to begin post-race recovery.
Keep moving - The worst thing you can do is cross the finish line and jump in your car and drive home. Take some time to either jog or walk following your race.
Celebrate! - Relish in your accomplishment. The post-race high can be exhilarating. Capitalize on it to keep your momentum going and set new goals for the next finish line!