Race routines for the perfect race

Race season is upon us and, once again, I’ve signed up for way too many races this year. It’s only April and I have already done my first 3 races of 2019 over 3 consecutive weekends. You can read about my race reports (ATB30K, Spring Run-Off 8k, and NYC Shape Half) over on my blog. Each time I do a race, I try to learn from it so I can be more prepared for the next race. Here’s what I’ve learned over the past couple of years. I hope this will be helpful! Leave a comment if you have any other tips! A few days before your race:
  • Start carbo loading but don’t go overboard;
  • Drink lots of water;
  • Try to get lots of rest;
  • Try to be ‘regular’ . . .you know . . . with No. 2;
  • Figure out how and when to get to the start line. Be aware of road closures, subway/bus operating times, parking, etc.;
  • Check the weather forecast and decide what you will wear for the race. (You may want some Monkey Gear for this) Do laundry if it’s dirty!
The day before:
  • Go for a short (~5k) shakeout run;
  • Pick up race kit or do it earlier if possible;
  • Have a final high-carb meal at lunch (e.g. pasta) but stay away from anything too creamy, buttery, greasy, or high in fibre;
  • Have a light dinner;
  • Charge your watch and phone;
  • Check weather forecast again and collect race day outfit, gear, and fuel;
  • Post a #flatrunner on IG ?;
  • Make Nuun and put the bottles in the fridge;
  • Pack your post-race bag;
  • Clip toe nails;
  • Set one or more alarms;
  • Try to sleep (I usually can’t).
The morning of:
  • Don’t try anything new;
  • Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up;
  • Eat a pre-race breakfast (usually a PB&J sandwich for me) about 2-3 hours before the race;
  • TMI: try to ‘go’ at home, Vaseline wherever chaffing may occur, Band-Aid toes as needed to prevent blisters, wear a pad in case of bladder leaks!
  • Pin the race bib on (and repin it four times to make sure it sits just right!)
  • Check shoe laces but don’t tie them too tight;
  • Go to the bathroom again before heading out of the house.
Just before the race:
  • Check-in your post-race bag;
  • Try to stay warm. Use a garbage bag or a throw away shirt, if needed;
  • Go to the bathroom again, even if it’s a port-a-potty;
  • If possible, do a short (1 km) warm-up before going into the corral.
During the race:
  • Start in the right corral. Follow a pace bunny if there is one;
  • As you cross the start line, start your Garmin or Strava;
  • Try not to start too fast. I get claustrophobic easily so I always want to weave in and out at the start of the race to get through the crowds. It’s not good but I can’t help it;
  • Stay hydrated with sips of water or whatever is offered as long as you have trained with it. No Gatorade for me! When you get a cup from the aid station, pinch it so you make a little funnel for the liquid to go into your mouth;
  • If it’s hot, take an extra cup of water and pour it over your head or down your back;
  • Fuel every 45-60 minutes. Gels don’t agree with my stomach so I take Endurance Tap, GU chews, or Sesame Snaps;
  • Trust your training;
  • Look around, read the funny signs, high five the kids, strike-a-pose for the photographers, say thank you to the volunteers and cheer squads;
  • Celebrate the journey and enjoy the race!
  • Strike-a-pose and as soon as you cross the finish line, stop your Garmin or Strava;
  • Drink whatever is offered (water, juice, chocolate milk, etc.);
  • Eat whatever is offered (ideally some protein within first 30 minutes);
  • Change into a dry outfit including socks and shoes as soon as possible;
  • Take all the selfies with your new bling!
At home:
  • Take a shower/bath;
  • Foam roll;
  • Take a nap.
The evening of:
  • Do a bit of walking;
  • Drink lots of water;
  • Post those selfies on Instagram ?.
The day after:
  • Drink lots of water;
  • Foam roll;
  • Do a bit of walking/jogging;
  • Hang up your new bling;
  • Start thinking about your next race!

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