10 Things All Runners Need To Do Before A Race
The hard work is done. The runner put in the time training. This includes sticking to their scheduled runs, cross training, resting and focusing on nutrition. They are not, race ready, just yet. There are a few things all runners still need to do before the race.
No matter if it’s a runner’s first race or the millionth, there are common things we all put on our checklist. This includes more obvious things like making sure we are all our gear ready as well as less obvious like making sure our shoes are broken in.
What we need to do before a race also varies based on the distance. An upcoming marathon might call for a pre-race massage when tapering to loosen everything up and ease nerves, whereas a 5k requires less prep for more seasoned runners.
Here are the 10 things all runners need to do before that big race.
1. Take New Wheels Out For A Few Spins
Runners might want to get a new pair of running sneakers to celebrate an upcoming race. But this shouldn’t be done the week before the race. No matter how great the shoes feel in the store, the runner needs ample time to break them and make sure they are the perfect fit. No one wants to suffer from discomfort and blisters during a race.
Those who run often might need a new pair. It’s recommended to replace shoes every 350 to 500 miles, whereas this number is shorter for those who run frequently.
Make sure to give enough time to get a few runs in the new shoes so that they are race ready.
2. Practice Nutrition
Yes, we should be eating well when training for a race. (Even though we are also firm believers in balance, so treat yo’ self every once in a while after a 10-mile run.) But we are talking about running nutrition in this case. We all know the phrase, “nothing new on race day,” one that is used countless times in the running world. And this phrase is the most important when it comes to running fuel. The last thing a runner wants is to experience serious tummy issues and need to run to the closest bathroom after consuming a gel or chew mid-race.
Practice, practice, practice running with fuel in order to see what brand, option and flavor work best for the runner. And then stick to whatever works for the race.
This also means running with water if the runner feels more comfortable even though races typically have water stations. Some runners like to add Nuun or other electrolytes options to their water, so run with whatever fuel and hydration work best for the runner being able to perform.
3. Plan The Outfit, Wear The Outfit
Don’t wake up on race morning, jump out of bed and them frantically looking for something to wear. Plan an outfit in advanced. But not too in advanced. Weather can change daily based on the location and season. Have options on hand and the night before lay everything out—including moisture-wicking socks.
But remember to run wearing the article of clothing to “break it in” if you will. This makes sure certain clothing doesn’t cause chafing or discomfort like leggings that keep slipping down.
4. Prepare For Traffic
The previous tips may or may not be more obvious. But this point is extremely important, and often overlooked. Yes, we Google Maps the location of the event to see how far it is away. But popular big races mean lots of traffic near the location. A race that is 30 minutes away, might result in sitting in massive traffic and being an hour stuck in the car. And when waves of runners are prompt or relay buses leave at a certain time, making to the parking lot promptly is everything.
Prepare for traffic and leave just a bit earlier for the race. Some big races recommend arriving 90 minutes beforehand. Worse case, sit in the car and eat that pre-race breakfast if early. Check then double check the alarm for the morning.
5. Practice The Course
This doesn’t mean the runner has to run the exact course. This might not be a possibility for those traveling to the race. Instead, we mean knowing the course when it comes to elevation. If it is a hilly course and the runner only runs on flat grounds, they might find they are really unprepared for the big. Know this before the race. There is nothing worse to morale the feeling overwhelmed by the course.
6. Have A Race Strategy
It’s common for racers to start off too fast and then burn out fast. It’s best to have a race strategy in place to prevent this. Pacing is important. Try to stick to that pace and know when to push it. Typically runners are faster on race day because of the excitement and atmosphere.
This also means having the right playlist ready beforehand, without playing out the songs to the point where the runner is bored of them. Another good idea is to have a mantra to recite when the going gets tough. Race strategy should be much more than logistics of speed and when to fuel. It should also include how to continue to self motivate and make sure the mind allows the body to make it across that finish line.
7. Hydrate…Before the Race
It’s extremely important to be hydrated when running. But this means hydrating well before the race. Runners should start drinking more water in the days leading up to the race. The goal is to get urine to a pale yellow to clear color. Men should consume 3 liters go water per day, women 2.2 liters. Just be careful not to over hydrate. Overhydration can cause hyponatremia which results in blood sodium levels to drop. Add Nuun or other electrolytes to water or try salt tablets when running in hot and humid climates.
It’s best to drink 8 oz of water before a short distance race, and 16 to 24 oz for longer distance races two to three hours before. Then have another 5 oz right before the race.
8. Get Enough Sleep
It’s important to get enough sleeping when training, and especially the night before the race. This is easier said than done since pre-race nerves can have us all night. Plus most races have early starts, which means rising early to get there on time. That’s why it’s extremely important to get everything laid out, packed and ready to go. Then make it a priority to get to bed at a decent time. Allow for some time for tossing and turning. Even if the runner needs to lay there in the dark and silence for a while, eventually they should be able to drift off.
9. Charge All Devices
Make a checklist of devices needed for the race. This includes running watch, headphones, and phone or whatever device is used to play music. Not being able to look at pace or have music on hand can completely throw off a runner’s game. Charge everything the day and night before then make sure to pack it all.
10. Have A Post Race Plan
The runner crossed the finish line and there are all the emotions that come with that. Don’t make feeling disappointed that no-one is there to help celebrate or confused about where to go or what to do now be one of those emotions. Just like we plan out the race, runners should plan out their finish. Organize before if family and friends can be there at the finish line. If this is not an option, contact others from a local running group or online running group to see if anyone is running the race and would like to meet up beforehand and after. Not everyone has supporters that can come to every race, so the runner isn’t alone in this.
If the runner does have a support system of cheerleaders plan in advance where to meet, and where to celebrate afterward. Pick a local restaurant for breakfast or brunch or opt to head home first and go for post-race drinks after. Some races have afterparties, so make sure supporters have the access needed to attend. This might be a wristband purchased ahead of time.
- Getting Fitted For Running Shoes: Road Runner Sports Helps Runners With The Perfect Fit, Running Website ,
- How to Hydrate Before, During, and After a Workout, Running Website ,
- How to Hydrate Before a Half Marathon, News Website ,