How to Prep the Week Before Your First Race

Even for seasoned racers, the days before a race can be stressful. With all the hope and hard work that you've invested in your goal event, you want to arrive at the starting line feeling calm, healthy, and ready to run your best.

Here are a few reminders to keep you on track in the critical days and hours before the starting gun fires, and to help you recover after you cross the finish line.

More: 10 Race-Day Preparation Tips

The Week Before the Race

Stop stressing. 5Ks and 10Ks are hugely positive community events. You get to spend a morning with strangers cheering you on, feeding you and offering water, and celebrating doing something healthy for yourself. Everyone fears that they'll be last, but don't worry. In all likelihood, you won't be. People with a very wide range of abilities and levels of fitness do 5Ks, and many people just go to walk them from start to finish.

What to Do a Week Before Your Race

Cover the route beforehand. If you can, work out on the route where the race will take place so you can get familiar with where you'll need to push and where you can cruise. Finding the race start beforehand will prevent you from getting lost on race morning!

Eat what works for you. Your best bet is to eat whatever has worked best for you—that's given you a boost without upsetting your stomach—during your regular weekday runs. Don't eat anything heavy within two hours of the race. A smoothie containing fruit and yogurt is always a good choice because it gives you a good balance of carbs and protein but not too much fiber (which could cause GI distress).

More: Pre-Race Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid

Get ready the night before. Lay out your gear and get as much sleep as possible- aim for eight hours.

The Days Before the Race

Don't do anything new. Race week isn't the time to try new shoes, new food or drinks, new gear, or anything else you haven't used on several workouts. Stick with the routine that works for you.

Get off your feet. In the days before you race, try to stay off your feet as much as possible. Relax, and leave the lawn mowing, shopping or sightseeing for after the race.

More: How to Taper to Boost Performance

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