As your big race approaches, here are five things you can do to plan for a great day of running…
By Karen Kwan
With the fall race season fast approaching, thousands of runners will be at the start line to tackle their first marathon or half-marathon. It can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking few weeks – take a moment to take a breath and establish your plans for a smooth final few weeks of your training regimen so you can toe that start line with confidence.
Try out your choice of fuel
If you have not yet tried out the electrolytes you plan to use during the race, you’ll definitely want to test out your choices now. You may find certain types may bother your tummy, for example, or you may discover you prefer gels over gummies. If you plan on using the stations on the course rather than carrying your own hydration and you tend to have a sensitive stomach, check the race website to see what will be available on the course – then try out that brand and flavour ahead of time to ensure it agrees with you.
Don’t wear brand new gear
Race day is not the time to break out new sneakers or wear the new shorts you picked up at the race expo – you want to be wearing tried-and-true items that have performed well for you. Picture yourself during your long race in your snazzy new singlet…discovering the arm sleeves are giving you blisters or the fuel belt keeps jostling annoyingly on your waist.
Trust the taper
Taper madness is a real thing; you’re experiencing anxiety about the race and you’re itching to get out to run even though you know your body needs to rest up before the big push. Remind yourself that you’ve put in the work needed to complete the race and that your body needs these two to three weeks to recover so it can meet the demands of race day. Talk to a fellow runner, one who can be the voice of reason and remind you that completing extra distance now will not benefit you on race day. Also, find ways to distract yourself: read something inspirational such as What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, or use that time to plan your carb-loading meals.
Get some quality sleep
Getting a good night’s rest in the days leading up to race day is essential. Chances are the night before the race, you may be nervous and unable to get some quality zzzs, so make it a priority to get to bed early every night in the week ahead of your race.
Plan plenty of time for race day prep
Figure out practical details beforehand so you’re not anxiously rushing around on race day. What are the logistics for how and when you’re getting to the race expo for your kit and for the race itself? With your gear, the day before, set out everything – from your outfit and essentials such as SPF and anti-chafe balm to the bag of your post-race gear – so you can check to make sure you have everything. Then, prep anything that you can do in advance; for example, pin your bib to your top so you’re not hunting for or fussing with safety pins at 5 am, and make sure to charge your sports watch.
KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.