Preparing for a race

09th November 2016



Race preparation

Preparing for a race

by Claire Senior

Preparing for a Race by Claire Senior

Whether it is your first Parkrun or your first half marathon, preparation is your key to success.

Yes, you need a training plan so you can safely and effectively prepare your body for the rigours of race day. However, there is a lot more that you can do to enhance your race and enjoyment of the day.

The weeks before:

Every time you go out on a training run, check the temperature. Once you have warmed up and are running along, notice how many layers you remove or add and see what feels most comfortable for you. Then on race day, when you check the temperature, you know what clothes will work best for you, meaning you don’t run the risk of too many layers, or cold hands!

Another key focus is your food and drink. Everyone is different, so notice what works best for you in terms of how long to leave between eating and running, and if any particular food causes you problems. If you are preparing for a long race (90 minutes or more), then you might want to consider trying out different gels and drinks during your training runs.

Two nights before:
Aim to get a good night’s sleep. The night directly before a race you might be too excited to sleep properly! However, by getting a good sleep in two nights previously, your body (and race day adrenaline) will be able to cope with a poor night’s sleep.

The night before:

  • Check the weather forecast and plan your clothes accordingly.
  • Find your race number and pin it on your shirt, ready to go.
  • Check the race route, the start location, where the water stations are and…most importantly… location of all the toilets(!)
  • Prepare your food and drinks. Remember, you will need food before and afterwards, as well as any gels you plan to use during the race.
  • Get your sat nav ready, check your route, transport choice and timings. Make sure you give yourself extra time to get there. There is nothing worse than running into a traffic jam or getting lost with no time to spare and having to sprint to the start line, or worse still, missing the race completely.
  • Clean dry clothes and shoes for afterwards are essential, as well as a spare bag for your dirty clothes. This is particularly useful after an off-road event.
  • Finally, pop an extra bin bag in with your kit. You won’t want to be cold walking to the start line, but you also won’t want to have to discard your jumper at the side of the road. So, rip a head hole and 2 arm holes in a bin bag and wear that to the start line. Yes, it looks odd, but you will be thankful for it when everyone around you is shivering, wearing just their vest and shorts!

Race day:
Don’t try anything new! Wear the clothes and trainers that you have worn before and know are comfortable. Don’t be tempted to try the latest ‘super food’ that you have just seen tweeted about. Stick to the food that you know works for you. Double check the weather forecast and grab your pre-prepared bag. Now, go out, embrace the race day nerves and enjoy your race experience!

Thanks for reading this

And thank you Claire for sharing your story with us.

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