By Robert Cavanaugh
You have logged many miles over the past few months, and now it’s time for that big race. You may have no idea on what to expect, but by following a few running guidelines you will have a successful race experience. Many experienced runners will say that the last 24 to 48 hours before the race is the most crucial time.
These 10 tips will ensure you run your best race and help you reach the finish line with a smile on your face:
1. Cutting down miles prior to race: Leading up to race day, your running mileage should decrease. Your training is complete, and now it’s time for your legs to get ready. The day before your race you should go for a 15-20 minute run, focusing on form and staying loose. Following your jog, make sure you get a good stretch in.
2. Know the course: Many of the race websites have a map of the race course for you to view. It is always a good idea to drive or even run the course leading up to the race so you know where the start/finish is, where there are turns, and most importantly, if the course has hills.
3. Stay hydrated: In the days leading up to the race, staying hydrated is critical to your running performance and preventing heat-related illnesses. Water, sports drinks or juice are recommended. On race day, do not chug a lot of water. This could lead to cramps.
4. Wake Up Time: Get up two to three hours before your race to have a snack or something light and easily digestible such as cereal or toast. This extra time also will allow yourself to get mentally ready for the race.
5. Packet pick-up: If your race offers a packet pick-up the night prior to race day, it is always encouraged to pick it up ahead of time. If you need to pick the packet up the day of the race, make sure to get there early to avoid lines.
6. Get to the race early: There’s a lot to be done on race morning, including parking, packet pick-up and warming up. Arrive at the race site at least 60 minutes prior to the start. This will give you enough time to park, warm up and get to the starting line in plenty of time. It is recommended to jog and stretch 45 minutes prior to the race to get a proper warm up and get your mind ready to race.
7. Bring a support team: When running a race, it is always encouraging to hear family and friends on the side cheering your name as you run by. Having these people cheer you on is a great way to help you get through some challenging parts of the race.
8. Line up properly: At most races there are hundreds of runners/walkers and lining up at the start can be the key to your success. At the start line, the runners in the first few rows are typically your local elite runners and experienced runners. If it is your first race, you should start somewhere in the middle of the pack so you are able to start at a pace you are comfortable with.
9. Pace yourself: Many local runners will get too excited at the start line and when the gun goes off they run the first mile too quickly and don’t have enough energy to keep the same pace. You should try to start the race at a conservative pace and build your speed throughout.
10. Have fun: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself leading up to the race. Stay relaxed and have fun.
For more information about kids running camps and adult training through RTC Training, contact Rob Cavanaugh, director, at 732-406-4454 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at www.rtc-training.com.