Issue 75 (Spring 2017)

57

Time Tested Race Day Tips

Welcome to the event Guide for 2017! These pages are packed with every type of race you can imagine. We have traditional running and walking events, as well as trail races and multisport races, such as triathlons. Once you’re scoured the pages searching for the perfect events for your race calendar this year, we have the right advice to help you run your best on race day.

Running seems really simple, right? You just put one foot in front of the other and try to keep going. But when it comes to running a race, each event is a learning experience. We often make mistakes and learn to do things differently the next time. Here is some time-tested race day advice to help you pursue a faster finish or better experience.

1. Train right: You may be able to fake it in a 5K or 10K, but if you want to run a great half marathon or fast marathon, you’d better put in the training. Don’t hope for beginner’s luck. Find a schedule and stick to it. Put in the miles, so that if you hit a rough patch, you have the experience to fight through it.

2. Stick to your plan: Before your race, come up with a plan and a pace. If you feel fabulous at the starting line, don’t take off like you’re Kara Goucher or Ryan Hall. Stick to your pace. There will be plenty of time to go faster later in the race. If you’re tapered and the weather seems perfect, you may feel amazing at the start, but the fatigue may set in later in the race and you’ll be glad that you didn’t go too fast early on.

3. Nothing new: Don’t try new shoes or new clothes for a major race. You want to use the same outfits that you have been training in already, to avoid any unexpected blisters or chafing. The same rules apply for food. Don’t try a new pre-race meal. Don’t eat new gels on the course. You don’t want to deal with stomach problems mid-race because you tried something new.

4. Don’t trust others: Don’t let cheering spectators make you go faster than you should. Don’t let the rock band at mile 11 make you lose your rhythm. Just because you train with other people during the week, doesn’t mean you have to stick with them during a race. Run your own race at your own pace depending on how you feel that day. Know that you can’t always trust official race pacers either.

5. Look at a map: Research the course map before your race. Learn where the aid stations will be located and familiarize yourself with any tricky elevation changes.

6. Aid stations: Major races have table after table of water and electrolyte drinks. It can be congested at the first table, so you will save time if you skip the early tables and take a drink from the back of an aid station. Also, if there is an aid station in the first mile, you may just want to skip that one altogether. The crowds of runners may not have thinned out yet and it may take too much effort to get over to the tables.

7. Logistics: Make a checklist of what you need for race day so you don’t forget your shoes or bib number. Arrive early to avoid parking problems or long lines at the porta potties.

Happy trails!
Derek Griffiths

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