Fall racing and events are back in Charlotte and we’re here FOR it. If it’s been a minute since you’ve lined up at a real, live starting line or it’s your very first go-round, welcome. Or welcome back!
You can’t control the weather, but having a great race day plan can make your experience that much better. We believe in learning from the best, so we tapped into the expertise of the local Charlotte running community for these tips to help you prep like a pro!
Remember to breathe
This is a good one to remember, you know, in general. Sometimes in a high anxiety environment, our breathing can become shallow and rapid. Try to take some deep breaths, keep your cool. Here are a few to try to calm those nerves.
Carry water during your training
You don’t want any surprises on race day. If you hate carrying a handheld, it’s important to know that before you line up. By carrying what you need, you take out the crowded water stops during the race.
Practice your fuel and hydration on long runs
Not only is it important to know how you’re going to get your water and nutrition during your race, you want to know what works for you. Some gels, bars, or gummies can wreak havoc on your GI tract– that would be highly beneficial to know before you go for a PR at your A race.
Negative splits yield the best results
The hope for all races is that you can speed up or at least maintain your goal pace during the second half of the race. That’s called a negative split, which means you’re feeling good enough to speed it up a little when it counts.
Who likes to run with a full bladder? No one. Use those porta potties with pride, and don’t forget the hand sanitizer.
Dial in those playlists
Have multiple running playlists ready to go so you don’t get tired of listening to the same music.Good tunes can make the run speed by or at least take the edge off. Just remember to always be aware of your surroundings and turn down the volume enough to be able to hear those around you. You never know when someone could yell at you that you missed a turn and are going the wrong way!
Stress less, sleep more
Before your big race, make sure to turn down your stress and get some good sleep and nutrition. Two nights before is the most important sleep. Stress impacts our mind and body in ways that can affect our training and racing. Keep it as low as you can — nerves can serve a purpose with some adrenaline at the start, but losing sleep over an event is never a positive. Some tips for getting a good night’s sleep can be found here.
Nothing new on race day
It’s not good to find out on race day that those shorts you bought specifically for the race actually chafe or the new socks give you blisters. Use the old standbys — your lucky underwear needs you! — and save the shiny new things for a practice run.
Don’t be that person
Most all events have chip timing. If you’re new to the running events thing, that means no matter where you start in the group, the clock on your start and finish time doesn’t begin until you cross the start line. So need to push anyone out of the way or trip anyone to get in front of them. Seriously; that can get downright dangerous. And like that one guy says, “fast people line up front, good-looking people toward the rear.” Figure out where you fit into the mix.
This may be the most important tip of all. Remember: we GET to do this, folks. Enjoy the ride!
There are plenty of events at which to sharpen your pre-race routine between now and November’s Novant Health Charlotte Marathon weekend. Check out our race calendar here: https://runcharlotte.com/lets-run/
What’s your best pre-race tip? Share it with us at email@example.com