What to Expect Two Hours Before Your First Race of the Season

Your training is complete, and it's finally race day. This is your first race of the season. You're nervous, anxious, and excited all at the same time. Here is what you can expect:

T-Minus Two Hours

The alarm goes off, but you've been up for 45 minutes staring at those glowing red numbers worried that an alarm gremlin snuck in while you were sleeping and turned it off. That gremlin spoiled some morning workouts, he wouldn't be above this. You click off the buzzing and start your pre-race checklist.

More: 5 Easy Ways to Run Better on Race Day

You remember the fiasco the morning of last season's first race, and you promise yourself this year will be different. This year, you lay out your gear and clothes in a nice, orderly fashion next to the bed. Your race bag was packed the night before, rechecked before bed, then rummaged through one more time.

Did you pack your sunglasses? What about shoes? Flip flops in the car, or race shoes? You don't want to deal with too much stuff, but it feels so good to peel those shoes off after a race.

More: 5 Pre-Race Tips to Be Ready for Race Day

You make sure your packet is here, right on top. Did you take your race number out? Should you pin it on before you get in the car? No, that's silly and uncomfortable.

T-Minus One Hour 30 Minutes

Breakfast time. This is important. Remember the race last year when you tried to go without because you were worried about your stomach? Bonk city. So then you overcompensated and were lucky to find a Port-a-Potty right by the start. Happy medium then: banana, maybe a granola bar for the road.

More: 4 Fully Loaded Meals to Carry You Through Race Day

You recheck your bag.  Your watch is still in there with your heart rate monitor. You're still not sure if you'll use it. This is the first race of the season; maybe it will be less stressful without a watch. But you have been training all these weeks with it and you do like knowing. It'll be a game time decision.

Is there anything else you need? Bathroom run? You still have a couple of minutes.

More: 5 Pre-Race Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid

T-Minus One Hour

You wanted to be there by now, but at least there's no traffic on the road. You wonder if the few drivers around you are headed to the race too. Where else would they be going? What kind of a person would be up at this hour on a Sunday?

You trained well in the offseason, except Christmas week. You don't even want to think about the damage you did during Christmas week. At least spring is finally here. The weather is warming, not that you can tell at this moment, shivering in your car with the heater on.

More: 7 Pre-Race Planning Tips

You've put in those hard, base-building miles. You struggled through the early weeks, wondering where your fitness from last year went. Last year also gave you the confidence to know that what you need is there, you just have to find it.

You remember checking local event websites, waiting for registration to open, and getting the early-bird registration. The workouts the rest of that week felt so much better. It's great to have a goal.

More: 4 Reasons to Sign Up for a Road Race

You were smarter than last year and avoided that injury by remembering recovery days are just as important as hard training days. You barely tapered for this race.

You run through your race plan one more time. First race of the season, don't want to bomb it out. The goal is solid pacing more than anything else. This is basically an expensive training day.

More: How to Deal With Pre-Race Doubts

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