Spring has sprung and the sun is shining, which marks the beginning of most people’s outdoor race season. Remember that race you signed up for way back in December to keep you on track through the winter? It’s quickly approaching! Registering for a race is a great way to keep you accountable to your training and have a goal to work for. If this is your first race, you may not know what to expect on the day of. Follow these tips to ensure that all your hard work and preparation is not for naught, and to ensure a stress free race day.
Stay Simple: Try to minimize extraneous factors. Look into beforehand if the race has a bag check, where parking will be and if there is package pick up on the day of if you are unable to get your package earlier. Arrange all of your gear the night before and bring a change of clothes (and extra socks!) if necessary, and make sure to bring pre and post race snacks. Planning all the details out in advance and arriving early will help alleviate stress on the day of the race.
Stay Sustained: Pre-race nutrition is also very important and can impact your entire race. If the race is later in the day, drink plenty of fluids 2-4 hours before and have a balanced meal high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein and low in fibre and fat such as oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit, or a smoothie. If the race is very early in the morning, opt for a slightly smaller or liquid snack. If the race extends over an hour, choose a sports drink over water on course, or bring your own gels and gummies.
Stay the Same: The golden rule is to never try something for the first time at a race that you haven’t done in training. For example, you wouldn’t want to try new caffeinated energy chews for the first time, in case they upset your stomach. If you schedule out your race day morning (including wake up times, hydration and nutrition), you can do a (literal) test run during training in advance to make sure the plan works for you.
Stay Smiling!: Most importantly, make sure to have fun! You’ve prepared for this race, now go enjoy it!