Today I’m playing along with the Friday Five link up hosted by Eat Pray Run DC, Mar on the Run and You Signed Up for What. On Sunday I’ll be running the Around the Bay 30k Road Race. It’s been almost 5 months since I last ran a race so while I was reacquainting myself with some tips that will help me to run a great race, I thought I’d jot them down and share these 5 last-minute race tips for your best race ever with you too.
Two or Three Days Before
- Lay out your race gear and pack two nights before hand
Check the weather and lay out your race clothes. I like to lay out a “flat Janice” two nights before races so that I can make sure that I have everything I need to wear on race morning. By doing this two nights before it gives ample to time to do any last-minute laundry, like washing your favourite pair of race socks etc. It also gives enough time to find some of those items that you only use for race day like your race belt etc. Some things to also consider packing are: Your fully charged GPS watch, Snacks, lip balm, sunscreen, body glide, sunglasses, a hat, money, toilet paper, a garbage bag (to stay warm or dry if it rains), gels, hydration belt, a change of clothes and shoes, and a towel. This really relieves any pre-race stress and jitters and helps you to feel ready.
- Get some R & R:
It is very rare to sleep well the night before a race because of the pre-race anxiety and fear of sleeping in. A poor night’s sleep the night before a race doesn’t affect race performance nearly as much as a poor night’s sleep in the two to three nights before hand does, so try to go to bed early for a few nights before the race. Skip the alcohol so that it doesn’t affect your sleep, turn off electronics at least an hour before bed time, and relax your mind with meditation or by reading a book. The day before a race is not the best time to spend a lot of time walking either. If you do choose to walk around the race expo try to ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time to also to put your feet up and relax.
- Research the race details
Become familiar with the race route including any last-minute route changes, road closures, parking, shuttle bus services, port-a-potty’s, corrals etc. Research where the water stops are and whether there will be any electrolyte drinks or fuel available on the race course. Find out where the port-a-potty’s are along the route so you can make any last-minute decisions during the race about where to take care of nature. Research the elevation changes so that you can pace yourself accordingly for any hills.
Push extra hydration all the few days before a race. Preferably you should be drinking beverages that also has electrolytes. This will help your bodyretain the water.
- Fuel for your race
Have a light meal high in carbohydrates the morning of your race. Try to stick to foods that you know your body can digest. Drink water and a coffee if you are used to drinking coffee in the morning before a run.
- Arrive to your race with ample time.
There are lots of things that can potentially ruin a race. Not being able to find parking, getting stuck in traffic, not being able to use a port-a-potty and not doing pre-race warm up drills and dynamic stretching are a few of these things. Plan to arrive to a race at least an hour early so that you can enjoy the race atmosphere and prepare your mind and body properly for what lies ahead. A pre-race warm up along with dynamic stretching can improve race performance by as much as 10% and prevents injuries so make sure you don’t skip this very important step.