Race Day Tips: Stay Calm, Cool and Ready to Run with these Race Day Tips
Whether it's your first race or your 100th, your nerves can run wild once the big day arrives. Here are some tips that will help keep you as calm as possible and run your best!
#1 - Have a plan - this plan should include:
Clothing and gear - lay out the night before with number affixed.
Know the time you need to leave to arrive early to the race start
What time you will eat breakfast and what that breakfast will be
When you will stop drinking fluids prior to the race so you don’t end up in a porta-potty at mile two
Your hydration and nutrition plan during the run
Remember nothing new on race day. You should have practiced will all of these plans and strategies.
#2 - Pickup your race packet early so you don’t have another thing to worry about on race morning.
#3 - Head to the bathroom line immediately once you get to the starting area. You want to start with an empty bladder and the lines get longer the closer you are to race start time. If you think you might need to go again and the lines are long, go right back into the line after you are done!
#4 - Take time for a dynamic warm up to loosen muscles prior to the race.
#5 - Get into the starting corral early and line up according to your pace (faster toward the front). Consider running with the pacers so that you don’t start off too fast and ruin your race! You can always speed up later in the race if you are feeling great. Pacers run the whole race at an even pace and finish in a specific time. They are there to help you!
#6 - Have a plan for pain management during the race. You know it will most likely get hard at some point. Develop strategies to take your mind off of the pain.
#7 - Try your best to stay positive. Have a meaningful mantra and think about it consistently during the race. An example might be “today I can do this, one step at a time”. Know your WHY and draw on it for inspiration and strength. Use the crowd to motivate you. Pretend every sign is just for you. Have friends and family at specific spots that you are aware of so you can look forward to seeing them and having them cheer you on!
#8 - Don't get derailed by the unexpected. You can't control everything, so have contingency plans if things don't go your way. If it's super hot be smart and adjust your goals; if it's wet be glad that it's not hot and sunny!
#9 - Make a new music playlist but don't start using it until the 2nd half of the race when you really need that extra boost to pump you up!
#10 - ENJOY IT! You've worked so hard for this very moment - embrace it and have fun!
Carrie Miller is an experienced pacer and personal run coach certified by the USATF and RRCA. She's also the owner of On Pace Race - a pacing company that organizes and leads dynamic pace teams for races across the United States. She’s run 39 full marathons including 9 Boston marathons as well as 50 and 100 mile ultras. She and her husband Paul have 5 young children.