If you are a novice running a 5K, your first 10K or participating in a half or full marathon, there are some key points that you should be aware of. Here are 10 tips to follow when race day comes.
1. The day before the race you should be taking in plenty of water in order to have a well-hydrated body. Avoid alcohol or excessive amounts of caffeine this specific day. Your morning cup of coffee is OK, but not all day.
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2. Pick a dinner that is going to give you enough carbohydrates, but is not going to upset your stomach or cause you to feel super stuffed. I would also stay away from any type of acidic foods since those can cause upset a stomach, create acid reflux and other conditions that are not favorable before and during the race.
3. Do not put on a brand new pair of shoes because you think you are going to run better. It is ideal to run in the shoes that are already broken in and your feet and body are accustomed to. If you run in a new pair of shoes, you have to break them in and doing that on race day is not favorable.
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4. Wear clothing that will wick your perspiration away. Also, if you are running in cold weather, it is easier to take off arm sleeves versus changing your shirt because you are too hot. Wear clothes that can be adjusted easily (running gloves, running hat, arm sleeves, etc). The last thing you want to do is shed clothing that was expensive and you leave it on the ground.
5. Visiting the water stations is great because you can get hydrated, but having a fuel belt will help maintain your rhythm when running and keep you hydrated. The last thing you want to do is stop or slow down to get some water/electrolytes and then get back on pace; you may cramp, faint or just not get back into the groove. Practice prior to a race with a fuel belt.
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6. The morning of the race, make sure you take care of all of your bathroom necessities. The last thing you want to do is use a port-a-potty or the bushes on the race course. This will make you cool down, ruin your time and just throw you off pace.
7. On the morning of the race, ingest what you usually eat when you are going to do that long run. Stick to what works for you when you need to run long distance. Don't try something different because it may disagree with your stomach or could alter your energy. Stick to what works, don't deviate.
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8. If you know you get hungry when you are running, plan ahead of time and make sure you have all of your goodies that work for you when you need it. That is why having a fuel belt is important.
9. If you are using an MP3 player, have all of your songs preloaded, charged and ready to go in the morning. Don't be doing last minute uploads because this will create unnecessary stress that you do not need.
10. If you feel like you are bonking or your running pace is just off, then follow someone who is just in front of you but is going fast enough that you can pace yourself with them. If you lose them, find someone else that you can pace yourself with because this will help you establish your rhythm again.
BONUS TIP: Pain is temporary. So have fun, sweat and enjoy that late breakfast or lunch after the race, you earned it.
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