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Getting ready for race day

Laying out sports bra, shoes, timing chip, shorts, socks, and race bib.
Laying out sports bra, shoes, timing chip, shorts, socks, and race bib.

Start of the LA Marathon Photo by: Rich Cruse
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With race season quickly approaching getting ready and prepared for a race is on every runners' mind. Take your time the days preceding race day to make sure you have all aspects of the upcoming race planned out. This can include the clothes you'll be wearing, transportation to and from the race, and when you will pick up your bib and chip for the race from the race expo.

Before the race starts, you must attend the expo to pick up your bib number and chip that will time you during the race. Allow enough time to find parking, attend the expo and perhaps pick up any last minute items you might need for the race from the expo. These could include any type of fuel that you might  need during your run. Often there are other races promoting their race at the expo and checking out other events, the running apparel and souvenirs can be entertaining.

Once you get home, be sure to attach your timing chip to your shoe immediately so that you don't forget it come race morning. Race morning can be hurried and frantic for many, so another aspect to help calm the nerves is to lay out the clothing you want to race in. When choosing clothes to race in, you may want to think about wearing bright colors so that any spectator you may have invited to the race can easily spot you on the course. Another aspect to consider is wearing something that you've ran a long distance in before. The last thing you need to happen race day is a terrible case of chafing or some type of wardrobe malfunction. Laying out your clothes makes getting dressed efficient race morning and there are no last minute decisions to be made. You can also do this with the food you will want to bring with you or eat race morning as well. Make sure that you have enough safety pins for  your bib number and that all electronics that will be used for the race are totally charged.

Lastly and most importantly is the transportation logistics of the race. Make sure that you know how your're getting to the starting line. If you have opted to drive yourself, remember to consider the fact that you will have run a far distance and that may affect your ability to drive. If you have a friend driving you to the start, make sure you know how to get to the starting line, taking into account the road closures for the race and also consider parking. When a large number of race participants descend on one area, parking may be minimal. Usually a larger race will have specific maps with parking locations listed on their website. Allow yourself plenty of time to get there, feeling rushed and frantic race morning will just increase nerves and may interfere with your race mind-set. Make sure you also have a designated meeting place or form or contact for the person taking you home after the race as well.

Check out the slideshow below for more hints and tips to get ready for your big race day!

 

Comments

  • Alex 4 years ago

    Nice article! I always lay out my outfit the night before, but mostly because I am obsessed with running clothes! :-)

  • Spamboy 4 years ago

    Good stuff. I do all of that, almost obsessively (e.g. over and over again, until I can sleep soundly knowing all is well).

    One last bit of advice I might add: on or before expo day, take some time to drive the course. That way, you get familiar with landmarks, elevation changes, bad parts of the route (potholes, etc.).

  • David 4 years ago

    All great points! Another tip is to eat something way before the race so that it can properly digest in time PRIOR to the start. Stopping at a port-o-potty during a race is a bummer!

    Also, don't get caught up in the rush. Many will take off super fast in the beginning and you're competitive side may push you into trying to keep up. If you know this pace is too fast for you to maintain for all 13.1/26.2 miles, back off and drop to the sides so that faster runners can pass with ease.

  • Cortney 4 years ago

    I like to look over the race map a few times and like Spamboy drive it atleast once ahead of time if I can.

  • Scott 4 years ago

    Never under estimate the power of the crowd. Wear interesting clothing to get people to cheer for you.

  • Beanarita 4 years ago

    Sometimes it helps to get rid of pre-race jitters by talking like a pirate for 5 minutes as fast as you can. Make sure to do this at the start finish line and try to include as many other people as you can. Some will think you're crazy - but they'll be the ones finishing last!

  • Amy Moritz 4 years ago

    I never forget body glide and I always practice my nutrition: both breakfast that I will eat on race day and gels during the race!

  • Matt Wright 4 years ago

    I always check out where to park. I've gotten to races before and had to drive around for 10 minutes trying to park. That stresses me out.

  • Cory Tretsky 4 years ago

    This is true, I usually lay my clothes out a few days or weeks ahead of time just so I have room to change anything if I want to.
    Make sure to compete at top performance by taking a rest day 2-3 days right before the race and take the 1-2 days before the race as very easy days so you can be loosened up and you don't have food settling, but still be fresh come race day. Depending on the length of the race the rest/easy days before could vary though. Just don't try to gain any new endurance or speed because this will result in losing muscle strength.

    Also begin hydrating and eating the foods you plan to eat the night before a race 4-7 days before the actual race day. If you try to hydrate yourself all at once the night before you will have a lot of extra water weight and it could be sloshing around as you run(know this from experience, it really does suck). In the same way if your body isn't used to the types of food or the amount of food you plan on partaking in before the race...

  • Cory Tretsky 4 years ago

    it could either settle and feel like a block in your stomach, or it might do the opposite and have you running to the bathroom more than you want to be.

  • jbone66 4 years ago

    Here is another tip to go along with your "Wardrobe Malfunction/Chafing" section that I know that you are aware of Danica ;) Pack band-aids (at the same time you lay out your items the day/night before). Band-aid the nips (or lube them up with Vaseline or Body Glide) before a long distance event (especially guys)! The constant rubbing of the area against the shirt can cause severe irritation and bleeding. I am sure many of you have seen this amongst a handful of male finishers at races. Yeech!

  • SanAntonioMatt 4 years ago

    Talk like a pirate? What? I'm sorry that is just bad advice. It definitely won't calm pre-race jitters and might even make you more jittery while annoying everyone else around you to the point of starting a fight. Come on. Who let's these people in here?

  • Texas 4 years ago

    SanAntonioMatt, uh, i think Beanarita was kidding.... A little wound up are we? Geez. Who let you in here?!

  • jbone66 4 years ago

    Here is another tip to go along with your "Wardrobe Malfunction/Chafing" section that I know that you are aware of Danica ;) Pack band-aids (at the same time you lay out your items the day/night before). Band-aid the nips (or lube them up with Vaseline or Body Glide) before a long distance event (especially guys)! The constant rubbing of the area against the shirt can cause severe irritation and bleeding. I am sure many of you have seen this amongst a handful of male finishers at races. Yeech!