Twas the Night Before Race Day
Packing your race bag the night before is essential for not feeling rushed going into the race. You’ll be happy to take the time to make sure you have everything packed or laid out for the next day. Make sure to have your race packet, number, fueling, clothing, shoes, i.d., money, sunglasses/sunblock, hats, headphones, additional clothing or whatever else you think you may need ready to go. Make sure to check the forecast and wear and bring layers based on the weather. Avoid trying something new during or before the race, ie. nutrition, clothing, etc. This is not the time to switch to new shoes or a new sports bra, don’t use those free gels or blocks in your race bag if you’ve never had them before. If you use a GPS watch, make sure its fully charged!
Enjoy a relaxing and nutritious dinner. Try not to eat too late, so your stomach has time to rest after the meal and allow you to sleep well. Focus on protein, fat and a starch. This is the only time I’ll tell you to limit your veggies. Too many veggies lead to some unpleasant bathroom experiences the next morning. I love to have steak or venison with a potato and butter. It’s always good to experiment with a few different dinners before some of your long workouts and see what makes you feel your best.
Do something relaxing and enjoyable after dinner. Watch a movie, play a game or have a chat with a friend. Do something to get your mind off the race the next day and release some nervous energy.
Try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Don’t freak if you don’t get a good night’s sleep. Two nights before the race is the most important night for sleep. Just know that if you’re in bed, you’re getting some good relaxation. Don’t stress about it. Because after the race, you’ll sleep like a rock!
Nervousness is normal! There will be lots of nervous energy the day of the race. That’s normal and it’s good. When you’re nervous, your body is getting geared up to perform at its peak. Here are a few things to keep in mind on race day.
If you are planning to eat before the race, make sure to know exactly what you are going to eat and how much time you need to eat before the race. Follow the race fueling plan to feel your best on race day.
Arrive at the race site at least 60 to 75 minutes before the start. You need enough time to get situated. You need to pick up your race numbers (if you weren’t able to do so earlier), make bathroom stops and then warm-up.
Warming up before the race will insure that you are ready to perform at your highest level. Depending on the race distance and your level of experience will determine what type of warm-up you will be doing. A good rule of thumb is to get some light jogging or fast-paced walking in for 5-15 minutes and a few dynamic stretches. You may want to do some foam rolling at home beforehand so you aren’t needing to lug that around.
When it comes to race distance the rule is pretty simple, the longer the race the shorter the warm-up. Also the temperature can affect you as well. If the day is very hot, you don’t need to warm up too long. But if it’s really cold, you’ll need more time to warm-up.
Also the more experienced you are, the longer the warm-up. An experienced runner will be looking run hard and fast during a half marathon. They will need to spend time warming up so they can start at an aggressive pace.
Below is a race preparation outline. This can help you stay organized and focused on your goals. Now get out there and have fun! Good luck!!
Race Preparation Sheet
Race Arrival Time:
Warm-Up Start Time:
Race Plan: Include pace goals, handling the course and other strategies
Race Fueling Plan (Gels/Blocks/Hydration):
Gels (What Times or Miles):
Sports Drink (What Times or Miles):
Any Special Gear Needed for This Event?
Positive Mantras: (If any)