Preparing for a Race

Today is my last long run of New York City Marathon training, and also my last race before THE BIG RACE, so I thought I’d share with you guys a few of the ways I get ready for a race.

My pre-race preperation depends on what I want out of the race, and the race distance.

The night before the race I’ll lay out all of my race stuff, including the bib with safety pins, timing chip, any race info, race day fuel, and my outfit! Make sure you’ve worked out what time you need to get to the race, as well as the best way to get there. If you’re using public transport is it all working correctly? If you’re driving will you need cash for parking? Is there a corral system? Knowing these details will help you feel prepared, even if you’re not as well trained as you might like to be!

I try to have a quiet night, sitting on the sofa, watching TV or a film with friends and carb loading! The best part of the pre-race preperation! Usually I’ll make pasta with tomato sauce and chicken, or a risotto. I tend to steer clear of creamy pastas though! I’ll drink plenty of water, and at least one drink with electrolytes, like Nuun, before bed (then another in the morning!)

Most races require a really early start, so it’s best to get an early night. I find I don’t sleep very well before a big race, and end up waking up multiple times in the night. Remember to set an alarm, or a few if you might sleep through them!

This was not a perfect early night before a race!

I give myself an hour in the morning before I need to leave the house to eat breakfast, have a cup of tea, and generally get myself sorted. Often this means I have time to sit down and relax a little before the race. When it comes to breakfast, it’s best to have something ‘tried and tested’ – the old ‘nothing new on race day’ comes into play here. I stick to peanut butter on toast with a banana.

When it comes to race day nutrition and hydration, it’s worth finding out when the aid stations are during the race, and what sort of fuel they’ll be giving out. If it’s not something you’ve practised with then it might be worth bringing your own. Many races give our Lucozade or Powerade along the course, along with water.

I didn’t bring a handheld bottle for the London Marathon as I knew they gave our water and Lucozade in bottles, however New York gives out water in cups, which I am not very skilled at drinking out of whilst running. Last weekend, during my 22 mile training run, I practised running with a handheld and filled it up with the water cups as hydration stations.

Make sure your ipod/music is fully charged, and you’ve downloaded anything you want to listen to. That also goes to your pace watch, if you’re going to wear one. After my technology failure at the Royal Park’s Half, this is something I’ll be checking before race morning!

Chat to your spectators about where they’re going to stand, that way you can give them a predicted time to look out for you, and you’ll have something to look forward to! During the RPH I managed to miss my Mum at her first stop, but saw her at mile 5!

Organise where you’re meeting friends that are also running, arrive at the race start with plenty of time to use the bathrooms, use bag drop, grab a pace band and get to the start with time to spare to avoid any  extra stress!

Enjoy your race!!

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

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