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October 04, 2014

Tips for "Goal Race Eve"

Written by Dena Evans

check-list-mdThroughout your training, you likely have given a lot of thought about how you will handle the challenges of race day.  Another day worth giving a fair amount of consideration is the day before the big day.  Before it sneaks up on you, here are a few general tips for making sure your “Goal Race Eve” sets you up for success.

 

Get the your pre-race shakeout done before noon

Certainly, many athletes have been successful when their schedules require them to do whatever pre race shakeout walk or run they have planned later in the day.  However, doing these few miles earlier in the day will likely put you in a spot where you are exercising at the time of day you will be on race day, and give you the maximum amount of recovery.  While probably minimal in actual physical benefit, it can make a difference to an athlete looking to feel in rhythm.

 

Avoid walking around aimlessly at the expo

If possible, take care of your bib number pick up two days before, when the process will likely be less impacted by crowds and nerves. If you want to order an official race shirt for a family member or yourself, you can often do that online.  If that isn’t an option or the expo is only open the day before, be strategic.  Decide what, if anything you need (want) to purchase, and make deliberate progress to accomplish that efficiently.  A big race expo could keep an athlete busy for hours, with myriad vendors hawking various energy bars, drinks, clothing, and other gadgets.  There is a time for testing all these things, but hours on your feet and a bunch of weird stuff in your stomach the day before is not a winning formula.  Be mercenary.  Get in and get out.

 

Plan your morning checklist

Sometimes nerves can get the best of us in the lead up to a race.  Many athletes find comfort in knowing that they just have to check off a series of steps and can focus on the doing rather than worrying if they forgot anything.  Lay out your exact outfit and pin on your bib.  Have your breakfast food ready and a bag packed with extra long sleeves, cold weather gear, or whatever you need for a meteorological surprise.  Riding a train or parking where you need change or funds?  Have that ready so you aren’t standing in line for a fare card or digging through your car for change. Let the race be about the race, and not about these mundane details.

 

Stay in charge

When friends and family are just as pumped up about race day as you are, they unfortunately don’t have an outlet like you will.  This can lead to some over enthusiastic ideas, too much excited energy and chatter, and epic plans that may not have anything to do what is best for you.  Gently make clear that your itinerary the day before is your itinerary, and while you appreciate their love and support, on this particular day, you need to prioritize the race.

 

Eat early, and in moderation

A lot of thought is often put into a pre-race dinner, but one important one is how your body will deal with that dinner in the hours between dinner and the race.  Plan to eat a bit earlier than normal.  With many races on Sunday, Saturday night can mean a bit of a wait in a restaurant, etc, pushing you to a later time of day when you actually are chowing down.  Eat familiar foods that you know will sit well  - no risk taking.  Even if you are doing a marathon the next day, keep in mind that your body can’t suddenly process a huge amount of food in a short time.  What isn’t used, is discarded, which can be a distraction on race morning.

 

Hydrate early and not only with water

Hydration is a key part of your race day prep, and it is important to make sure you aren’t trying to accomplish it on the morning of the race.  Throughout the several days before the race, include enough water and sports drink (for electrolytes) that your urine is very light yellow.  You are in good shape if that last day before the race, you are able to carry around a bottle for the occasional sip and top off.