You've Trained - Now It's Here: Race Day Tips & Tricks
Race day can be so nerve wracking for a variety of reasons. Some of these nerves are good - they can help pump you up, get you excited, and improve your performance. But don't let those nerves get carried away! Recognizing that some race day variables are controllable and others are less controllable is important for your race day mentality. Don't let your stress run the days, or weeks, leading up to the race: control your stress by making a plan and setting yourself up for success. Keep reading for tips and tricks to help you have the best race day ever!
Race day clothing is personal. What works for someone may not work for you!
Try out your full race day outfit during one of your longer training sessions. Be mindful of comfort, chafing, sweating, etc.
Keep track of the weather conditions and what clothes you wear during training. Cold, wind, rain, heat, and humidity can all affect your comfort in certain fabrics and cuts.
Pick a bright color or pattern to help your fans spot you in the crowd. A loud cheer towards the end of the race can make all the difference!
My favorite running brand (for women): Oiselle
My favorite cycling kits (for women and men): Tres Pinas
Shoes. Most runners have multiple pairs of shoes, what ones are best for race day?
Wear your shoes at least 3-5x prior to race day. You may be "saving" your shoes for race day to avoid wearing out your expensive race day, speed shoes, but a little bit of wear can be very helpful to reduce hot spots and blisters.
Find your favorite socks with your race day shoes. Socks and shoe interaction can vary substantially, make sure your race day combo works well.
If you're in the market for new shoes, go to your local running store to try things on in person. My favorite store in Denver: Runners Roost
Nutrition. Such a big topic because it is so important!
For races over 90mins, nutrition is essential. Calories are what fuels us, without calories our performance can deteriorate quickly.
Research what will be on the race course and try it during your training sessions. If you love the brand and flavor that will be provided, you lucky duck! If you do not like it, it's time to find something that you do like.
There are endless nutrition gummies, goos, waffles, bars, and drink mixes on the market. A good place to start is by picking out your favorite flavor and trying a few different brands. Track your nutrition trials and errors in your training plan to see what works best for you.
Don't be afraid to try non-workout foods like snickers, gummy bears, and fruit snacks. They are cheaper and usually taste better (in my opinion)!
The best place for variety of brands, flavors, and types: REI
Weather: A less controllable variable that can make or break a race, if you let it!
Track the weather during your training sessions: temperature, humidity, wind, and rain are the main ones. How do you feel, what did you wear, what was your nutrition? This data can help you be prepared for the conditions on race day.
Temperature and humidity can have a HUGE effect on race day performance. Calculating potential changes in pace and effort level can help you avoid going out too fast. Heart rate at a given effort level is an easy way to measure this.
Adjust your nutrition and hydration accordingly.
Whatever the weather is going to be, it's going to be. Prepare as best you can, and then surrender to it! Everyone else is dealing with the same conditions too.
Pre/Post Race Plans: Decrease early morning stress by having a plan.
Determine where bag check is and what time it closes. Last thing you want to do is carry your bag through the race or stashing it only to worry about someone taking it.
If you are lucky enough to have a crew of race support, make sure they know your plan and confirm that they are there to help decrease (not increase!) your stress. Many races awesome apps that allow support crew to track the racer.
Determine the best mode of transportation to and from the race. Then create a nice time buffer to reduce the risk of missing the start or limiting your warm up time.
Day Before: What you do in the days leading up to the race can greatly impact your performance on race day.
Get 8+ hours of sleep every night.
Stay off your feet. Standing around and walking around might not seem like a big deal, but it can create muscle fatigue that can impact how you feel race day.