Firing up for Race Day

Before any race it is important to prepare yourself both mentally and physically. I have always got butterflies in my stomach in the days leading up to a race, not for the running itself but for the logistical preparation that requires a bit of organisation, especially for an early morning race start.

Here are some of my tips to make the day go as smoothly as possible.

1. Fuel your body substantially.  In the days leading up to a race, we do need to increase our carb intake, as carbs are stored in our muscles and liver as glycogen which is the form of energy our body can access and use most easily. This doesn’t meaning having to stuff your face and overhaul your usual eating plan. Rather, focus on redistributing your calories by increasing your carbs, eating smaller amounts of protein and reducing your fat intake.  Check out my post on Hi and Low GI Carbohydrates for some ideas. Remember the morning of the race is not a good time to try out new breakfast ideas, be safe and stick to something you know will sit well with you!

2. Hydrate! It is important to stay well hydrated in the days leading up to your race, to prevent dehydration and improve perfromance. Not convinced? Check out this article from Runners World. If you find normal water boring, try adding fresh citrus fruit such as lemon, lime or orange slices to your water 😉

3. Prepare EVERYTHING the night before. Layout your clothes, socks, shoes, underwear, running bib, safety pins, old jumper (often throw it to the side just before the start of the race), Ipod, watch etc. Make sure any tech stuff is fully charged.

4. Set 2 alarms! Often waking up for a Sunday run at 4am can feel like it is part of a dream, so be safe and set 2 alarms 🙂

5. Workout logistics. Often roads are closed and parking is restricted so I always try and use public transport on the day which is often free *bonus*. If you are meeting people after the race, make a meeting spot as for big races the crowds are usually quite big.

6. Mentally prepare yourself. Accept the training you have done, be confident in your physical and mental strength and forgive yourself if you are regretting not have done more.

Check out my last half-marathon race recap for some more race day info.. and remember to just enjoy the day. Soak up the atmosphere, smile at the spectators and thank the volunteers 🙂

What is your next race?
What does your prerace meal look like?
What is your top tip for running a race?

*Please note, I am not a dietician or fitness expert, I have simply fallen in love with running and these tips are based on my personal experiences and research. If you have a query, comment or suggestion please feel free to leave it below.

Good luck to all those running the City2Surf in Sydney this Sunday!

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30 thoughts on “Firing up for Race Day

  1. I ate basically the same breakfast this morning, Kelly–two waffles with banana slices and PB. If I have a substantial workout on the docket, it’s my go-to morning meal. I’m running my first half-marathon this evening! Not only is it my first half, but it’s also my first evening race, which will make for an interesting race recap. 🙂

    Here are my top two race tips: hydrate and don’t try anything new on race-day. I’ve been chugging more water than usual for two days with the hope of getting and maintain my body’s hydration levels. Also, it’s important to stick to your race-day game-plan: Eat the same pre-race meal, drink the same amount of water, wear the sneakers and gear you’ve practiced with–race-day is not the time to try anything new.

  2. You forgot one HAVE FUN! haha but seriously. I am the strangest when it comes to fueling, I usually just have coffee and maybe an apple before the race. I can’t take anything on my stomach, normally it is just coffee.

  3. Great tips! My biggest race advice to anyone is to take the start slowly. Don’t get hung up on other peoples’ starting paces and go at your own pace. You’ll feel better passing people at the end of the race than being passed because you started too quickly!

  4. Thanks for the tips Kelly, and have a great run on Sunday!
    I’m training for my first 5k in a long time, as I’ve just got back into running again. And my best race advice would be exactly what Courtney said above – guess how I know that!

  5. Good luck and have fun this weekend!
    My race tip is to take in a little extra sodium for a couple days leading up to a race. If you don’t and drink too much water, you won’t have enough sodium in your body which can lead to many issues including cramping.
    I’m doing a bike ‘race’ this weekend but just using it as a training ride…then my Ironman is in just over two weeks!!

  6. Hi Kel,

    Great blog, good read.

    On point 3, I have heard that you are not allowed to have headphones in the City2Surf so no IPods 😦

    I have a colleague who is going to wear a beanie to get around this (a bit excessive I think). Any other good solutions?

    Good luck on Sunday

    • Thanks Grant!!

      Hmm… a beanie sounds like a good idea in terms of weather predictions for Sunday! But as for running the C2S with music, I did take my Ipod last year, but I actually never ended up using it. There was so much going on- with bands playing and heaps of supporters cheering you along the way. The atmosphere was so vibey and having your own music kind of isolates you. Plus, I’m hoping Josh will keep me entertained along the way 😉

      Good luck!

  7. My next race is a half in November, nothing planned until then. My usual pre-race meal is a bagel with either peanut butter or a tiny bit of cream cheese on it.

  8. My next race is Rock n Roll Philadelphia! When I ran Rock n Roll Nashville, I grabbed every water cup! It literally saved me from dehydrating and stopping all together! Even a few sips makes all the difference! Good luck!

  9. Pingback: City to Surf to Cider | My love affair with running

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