Whether you are fast or slow, there are little things you can do to improve your performance or to save you from an awful situation. Experienced runners will tell you they have all experienced something unpleasant that could have been easily prevented. Here are some tips to make your next race better.
Double knot your sneakers
I will never forget the race when I was in the front pack of women and we had about a half-mile to go and I looked down to see my shoe untied. I of course did not stop to tie it but it is difficult to run quickly when you are worried about your shoe falling off.
Go to the bathroom about ten minutes before the race
Even if you don’t think you need to, get in line at the bathroom and eliminate any waste products. There are many articles about Runner’s trots which means that as you are cruising along, you get that feeling that you have to go….right away! It makes focusing on your pace a little difficult. If you are in a longer race, Pepto Bismal tablets taken at the halfway point works wonders.
No new foods the night before
The night before a race is not a good time to try Grandmas’ chili recipe. Your body will be exerting itself and should be fueled by what it is used to having.
Eat light race day morning
You do not want anything heavy to disturb your stomach so eat light before a race. Most races have great food to eat after the race so save up for then.
Drink enough fluids
Hydration has to start way before the race. Make sure you are drinking enough fluids before, during, and after the race. Dehydration can cause cramping and general discomfort.
Refuel before the bonk
When you are doing a longer race, do not wait until you feel tired to refuel. I always have something for every hour that I am running. Experiment on your long runs to see what works for you.
No new clothes
No matter how pretty the new running outfit looks, stick to what you have been running in already. There is nothing worse than starting to run and finding out that your new clothes are uncomfortable.
Vaseline is amazing!
When you run long there are certain areas that may chafe. A little Vaseline in key areas will work wonders. I wore a t-shirt in one marathon and it chafed my underarms. One aid station was handing out Vaseline. Problem solved!
Barefoot running is not for everyone.
I wore toe shoes for about a year. I loved running in them and I still say they made me faster. Unfortunately, they also messed up by foot and knee. I need support when I run so back to sneakers for me. Go to a running store, have your running style evaluated, and ask for their advice. You have to take care of the tootsies.
Pace is important
I left this for last because it is the tip that I struggle with but it is so important. On race day you will be surrounded by excitement and you will want to finish with a good time. Plan ahead of the race what a realistic finishing time would be; decide what you need to do per mile to achieve that and then try to stick to the plan. It is so easy to go out too fast and then have nothing at the end. The opposite is true as well, if you hold back too much you are left wondering, “What if I had run faster?” Experiment and see what works best.
As you race, make a list of what helps you prepare for races. Ask runners you meet what they do as well.