In a little over 3 week’s time, it’ll be race day. I’ll be taking to the streets of Berlin to complete my first half marathon of the year. And although It’ll be my third half marathon, I know that a mixture of excitement and nerves will accompany me around the course. You can never shake those pre race nerves or the level of excitement that continues to grow when you realise that you’re on track for running a new personal best. But a race day can be turned upside down in an instant if you haven’t got your pre race day preparation on lock. Here are my race day tips to ensure you get your run off to the best start.
Have a big breakfast
I know it sounds obvious but it’s so easy to under eat on race day. Especially when you’re getting up at the crack of dawn to run. I did this at the Royal Parks half. I had a normal sized bowl of porridge at about 6am and then headed out to meet my running group for 8, but the race didn’t start till 9. By the time I was 15km into the run, I was starving! Try to eat a larger than normal portion for breakfast. Eating carbs the night before will work in your favour too. But don’t eat anything that could upset your tummy! The last thing you want to happen when you’re running is to feel a bit of movement.
Organise your accessories
Make sure your phone, Apple Watch wireless head phones and Garmin are all fully charged before you leave your house. If you’re running with music, organise your playlist a few days before and if you can, try to run with it. Do any songs annoy you? Is there any songs that you’d like to hear more than once? Organising your running accessories means that on the day you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Start line snacks
Art the start of the Royal Parks, one of my friends just finished eating a banana about 20 seconds before she started running. At the time I thought she’d give her self ingestion but on reflection it was a stroke of genius. As I mentioned previously, the gap between your breakfast and the race start time is often bigger than you’d like it to be, so start line snacks are essential. I had a banana about 10 minutes before we started running during the Amsterdam half and I felt energised throughout the entire race.
And this includes your underwear too. If it’s too small or too big, its going to cause you problems. Wear an outfit that you’re worn before so they’re no surprises along the way. Leggings have a tendency to fall down so I always opt for tights with compression wear. The Nike Zonal tights hug your legs thanks to their compression wear and they’re super light weight too.
Long sleeves vs short sleeves
If you’ve ever walked past the starting line of a race, you’ll have noticed the number of runners in short sleeves- whatever the weather. Most runners wear short sleeves because you do get insanely warm when you run. But, I wear long sleeves because I hate being cold. It makes me miserable and I know that if I am cold, the first few crucial miles aren’t going to be quick enough as my body needs time to warm up. If you’re used to running in long sleeves, stick with it. But if you can handle the cold, get your arms out and go. Just make sure you keep your muscles warm before you start.
Pack extra clothes
One of the biggest mistakes that I made after the Royal Parks Half was that I didn’t give my husband a jacket or an extra top for me to put on when I crossed the finish line. I was freezing in my sweat soaked top and it took me hours to warm up afterwards. So if you only take one piece of advice from this post, it would be to bring change of top and a coat to keep your body warm after the race.
Do you have any race day tips or routines? Leave your comments below and let me know how you prepare for a race.