• Liezel Short

Best Advice for Race Day

To date I have completed 28 races. Yet it does not stop me from becoming a nervous wreck the few days before. My husband & I have developed a “Race Routine” that seems to keep us sane to a certain degree. This routine is also followed & refined when we run our LSD’s (Long Slow Distances) over week-ends. So, what is the Routine?

First, Nothing New. No new clothes, shoes, socks, running bras or new food | drinks. Every time I walk into a Sportsman’s Warehouse to pick up our numbers, I am seduced by a bright pair of leggings or a nice new top. If you must buy it, then buy it, but rather wear it after your race as a “well done” to yourself for completing the race. Test out gear and fueling during training & the long runs. That is the only way you know what is working for you. Also, you can take advice from fellow runners, but do not follow it blindly on race day. It might kill the race for you. Keep to what you know.

Make sure you know everything there is to know about the Race. Where are the starting & finish lines, starting time, parking, how long will it take you to get there. Pretty much all the info can be found on the race website, you just need to read up. Don’t be that lazy person that asks questions on the Runner’s Community FB Page that you could have found the answers yourself by doing the necessary research. We plan the logistics around Race Day like a military operation. It helps to calm the nerves if you are prepared.

Pack out your clothes the night before and charge your watch. Pin your number on and make sure your race bag is packed with essentials: Deodorant, Vaseline, extra toilet paper and a snack bar or two for after the race. I also place out the towels for the car – I find it very unhygienic to sit on the car seats with wet sweaty clothes. Prepare your water|juice and place it in the fridge. { #icarrymyown and #runclean }

Set your alarm clock early enough. We find that 45 – 50 mins is enough to get up and do everything before we hit the road. This has been determined through trial & error.

The nervous excitement normally kicks in while you are waiting at the starting line. I distract myself by being on Social Media (you know that pre-race selfie is not going to post itself!!) and trying to take in the general excitement of runners around me. Be aware that this excitement might cause you to start running at a faster pace than you trained after the starting gun. The adrenaline is kicking in at high gear, so you need to be prepared for this and run purposefully. We have been swept up in the wave before and it does hugely impact your performance later in the race.

Overall, enjoy the race and enjoy the feelings of accomplishments as the kilometers tick by. Let the vibe from the spectators give you the push you need, but do not get carried away. Follow your own race plan. No-one can the race for you, but you.

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