How to Prepare for Race Day like a Pro
Race day preparation is key to your success on the Big Day. Even for seasoned racers, the days before the event can be stressful. With all the hope and hard work that you’ve invested in your goal event, you want to arrive at the starting line feeling calm, healthy and ready. Raceday has compiled the most important ways to gear up, get ready and cross the finish line strong.
The Week Before the Race
Cover the route beforehand. If you can, work out on the route where the race will take place so you can get familiar with where you’ll need to push and where you can cruise. Finding the race start beforehand will prevent you from getting lost on race morning.
During the last three days your carbohydrate intake should increase to 70 or 80 percent of your total daily caloric intake. Each gram of carbs can store 3 grams of water. So, to make sure you get complete carb storage, drink four to eight glasses of water each day.
The Days Before the Race
Don’t do anything new. Race week isn’t the time to try new shoes, new food or drinks, new gear, or anything else you haven’t used on several workouts. Stick with the routine that works for you.
Get off your feet. In the days before you race, try to stay off your feet as much as possible. Relax as much as you can.
Graze. Rather than devouring a gigantic bowl of pasta the night before the race, which could upset your stomach, try eating carbs in small increments throughout the day before the race.
Put your hands on your bib. The night before the race, lay out your clothes, and if you have your bib, fasten it on. Your bib is the one thing you need at the starting line – don’t show up without it!
Limit your sipping. Yes, you need to stay hydrated, but no major drinking 30 minutes before the gun; sip if your mouth is dry or it is particularly hot out. Some athletes will take a mouthful and use it as a rinse and spit. Your best bet is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Aim for half your body weight in ounces. Hydration can make or break your race.
Arrive early. Identify yourself. Warm up. Line up early.
Dress for success. Don’t overdress. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if it is 15 degrees warmer than it really is. Your body will warm up at least by that much while running.
Fix it sooner, not later. If your shoelace is getting untied, or you start to chafe early in the race, take care of it before it becomes a real problem.
Start slow and stay even. Try to keep an even pace throughout the race and save your extra energy for the final stretch to the finish.
After the Race
Keep moving. Get your medal and keep walking for at least 10 minutes to fend off stiffness and gradually bring your heart rate back to its resting state. Be sure to do some post-race recovery stretches to stretch out your legs, back and hips.
Refuel and keep going.