Six Things You Should Do on Race Day

Remember these tips whether you are running a 5k, 10k, or a marathon.

There are a number of things you should do on race day, from what time you get up to taking other adequate measures to ensure that you finish the race. Here are some of the most important things you should do on the day of your next (or first) big race.

Wake Up Plenty of Time Before the Race Begins

Even if waking up at the crack of dawn pains you deeply, you should do what you can to avoid waking up too close to the starting time of a race. Rushing around the morning of race day is a surefire way to burn unnecessary energy that you could use for the race. Give yourself ample amounts of time to grab something to eat and drink and to get dressed before you have to jump in the car to drive to the start. You will also want to allow time for going to the bathroom, warming up and stretching while mentally preparing yourself before it is time to begin.

Fuel Up

As mentioned before, eating breakfast is an essential component of a good start to race day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day any day of the week but especially on race day. Chances are if you haven’t eaten for 9 to 12 hours, your blood glucose is probably low. Races challenge your fuel reserves (especially if they are longer) so fueling up before a race is important. Head to the starting line as full of carbohydrates and protein!

Don’t Wear New Shoes or Gear

Show up at the race with familiar shoes and gear. Those that you have put miles in are going to be the most comfortable. Never show up to race day in brand new shoes, even if they are the same kind of shoes you have been wearing for miles and miles. Race day is not the day to break those shoes in unless you want loads of blisters.

Also avoid wearing anything else new, such as spandex, underwear, sports bra, shirt, shorts, or socks. Wear clothes and gear that you have previously worn so you know you will be comfortable.

Pass on the Cotton

Don’t wear cotton clothes. Cotton is cheap but is also not very breathable, meaning it holds your sweat in rather than enabling it to evaporate. Opt for lightweight fabrics that do not stick to your skin.

Hydrate Frequently

Hydration is vital when running because water is involved in the chemical reactions necessary for your muscles to contract. Water also helps oxygen get to your muscles through blood. If your body weight drops over 2 to 3 percent during a race due to fluid loss, your pace will slow significantly. Drink early and often during the race, unless you are running a shorter race like a 5k.

Focus on Performance Rather than Time

Many runners head into a race thinking about a time they want to run. Surprisingly, many end up running slower than they want to. Rather than putting all your eggs in the time basket, focus more on your performance rather than the outcome. By focusing on your performance, you have a better chance of getting the outcome you desire.