So you're done the hard part. Your training is done and its time to lace up for your race. Here are some tips on how to be at your best for race day.
The Night Before...
Fuel up: It's important to load up on carbs leading up to your event to prevent hitting a wall. In order to run your best, you have to fuel your body properly, and ideally you want to be carb loading 2-3 days before.
Glycogen is what fuels your race and when that runs out, your body will start to use fat. However, fat is less efficient, so your body has to work harder to convert it into fuel and you hit that wall. Rice, bread, pasta and potatoes are great carb options. However, the night before, you don't want a massive meal. My go-to meal for dinner is pasta! Eating on the early side is better, at 6 or 6:30pm. Remember - you want to wake up the next morning hungry, not full from the night before.
Plan ahead: get your race gear together and ready to go so you don't have much thinking to do the morning of.
- Running outfit: plan what you are wearing on race day the night before
- Shoes & a good pair of socks
- Water and a banana
- Bib & bracelet
- Ferry ticket
- Bag (if you're checking one)
Rest up: Getting a good sleep is obviously one of the most important things the night before a race, take an early night and relax!
The morning of...
Set yourself up for success. Make sure you give yourself enough time to avoid feeling stressed or rushed. Ideally, you want to eat 3 hours before your start time, if it's a really early race, eat up and then rest a bit more before leaving your house.
What to eat:
Something easily digestible, and nothing new! My go to is a bagel and some yogurt or oatmeal and a banana.
Drink water and get excited!
During the Race...
Races are nerve-racking and exciting, so embrace it. Once you've started, you'll calm down and get into your groove. You want to position yourself so that you have room around you, and you feel comfortable.
- Hug corners, don't cut them: you might end up running for longer than what you signed up for if you are taking your corners wide, take the most direct route through turns without cheating.
- Focus on your breath: It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and run faster than a sustainable pace. A good way to check-in on this is if your breathing becomes shallow or your mouth is feeling dry you know to ease up on your speed.
- Set mini goals for yourself throughout the race: "At the next water station I'm going to pick up the pace" "When there are 300 metres left, I'm going to finish strong".
- Stay left at water stations, then grab the last cup: runners at water stations tend to slow down or stop, so to keep your speed stay to the side then come in to grab the last cup.
- Only wear the race shirt once you've earned it: This one is optional, but some people believe that you shouldn't wear the race shirt until you've completed the event, as a way of earning it. I usually don't wear it until after for good luck ;).
- Be POSITIVE: Cheer on your fellow runners, throw a fist bump or high five to toddlers watching their mom, and don't forget to cheer yourself on too