Race preparation

Ready, Set, Prepared! – 10 Things to Consider When Preparing for a Race

You’ve been preparing for a race for weeks if not months, and the day of your big race is just around the corner. You feel excited and nervous all at the same time. You know that you’ve put in the time, but you also want to perform your best on race day. You may have heard stories about runners “hitting the wall” and you don’t want to be another such casualty. Fortunately, you don’t have to be. Preparing for a race is easier than you think. With a little bit of forethought and race preparation, you’ll be ready when the horn sounds. Here’s 10 important things you’ll want to consider to help you run your very best race.

1 – Pre-Race Hydration: If you’re running a 5K, you won’t need hydration during the race. But for any race, you will perform better if you drink plenty of water the days beforehand. Guzzling right before may make you feel bloated. Therefore, start your hydration in advance as part of your race preparation plan.

2 – Pre-Race Fuel: Many runners talk about carb loading when preparing for a race, which is fine. But the key is not to overdo it. A couple of days before the race, your meals should be slightly more carbs. But avoid eating large amounts of calories that go above and beyond what your race requires.

3 – Pre-Race Training: As part of your race preparation, you’ll want to taper down your miles a few days beforehand. For longer runs, taking the day off before the race may also be a good idea. You’ve done the real training already, so enjoy cutting back on your running during the days leading up to the race.

4 – Getting Adequate Sleep: Sometimes, it’s hard to predict how you might sleep before a race. Therefore, start getting a good night’s sleep 3 or more nights ahead. Likewise, don’t go to bed early but instead stick to a schedule. This gives you the best chance to feel rested when preparing for a race.

5 – Choosing the Right Clothes: Nothing’s worse than uncomfortable running attire during a race. Make sure you not only know which running clothes to wear, but also make sure they’re clean! At the same time, be sure your race preparation includes putting aside music and other things you might need.

6 – Goals and Backup Goals: Goals are important for any race, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Even with the best race preparation, you may fail to achieve your objective. By having a backup goal, however, you can still feel good about your race. Thus, when preparing for a race, think about more than one thing that you want to accomplish.

7 – Positivity Training: Some races are just tough. Inclement weather, poor road conditions or an unexpected infection can make it a struggle. You can’t change these circumstances, but you can change your response. Embracing positive thoughts and feelings can help you get through these tough times. That’s why it’s good to include positivity training in your routine when preparing for a race.

8 – Anticipate the Jitters: All runners have a bit of anxiety at the start of a race. It’s not only normal but it enhances your level of preparedness. Therefore, part of your race preparation should include some relaxation techniques to help calm your nerves. Whether it’s breathing exercises or a mantra, find what works for you.

9 – Plan for Restroom Time: With the jitters usually comes a trip to the restroom. Therefore, preparing for a race also includes leaving yourself enough time to deal with bodily functions. Plus, by having plenty of time, you’ll naturally be less stressed.

10 – Have a Good Time!: One of the most important parts of your race preparation is planning on having fun. By planning ahead, you free your mind to enjoy the race experience. It’s a time to be proud of your commitment and training. So, don’t forget to have a good time in the process.

Practice Makes Perfect

Preparing for a race isn’t difficult or time-consuming by any means. But it does require some planning and anticipation. Race preparation should begin 3 days before a race. The more you practice your routine, the better you’ll become. You’ll find some things that work better for you than others. But no matter what race preparation routine you adopt, you’ll perform better on race day as a result.

Dawna is a mom of two, author of ten books and founder of Women's Running magazine and the Virtual Women's Half Marathon series. She is also a certified health coach and motivational speaker. Dawna has appeared on the Today show, MSNBC and morning news programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. Dawna has launched and sold two wellness companies and loves combining her passion for health and wellness with her love of running. Learn more about Dawna Stone.

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