Basic Tips for Preparing for Race Day
You have worked hard all winter to get into shape and now you may want to show off all of your hard work. Right now races, marathons, and walks a very popular and for good reason. These races are fun, you can do them with friends, and it gets you moving. Some runs are even adding more fun elements to liven up the tedium of running with things like the color and mud runs that are very popular among millennial.
You can even combine your love for fitness for a particular cause you want to bring awareness to including breast cancer, veterans, or even your local schools. Now that you have trained your body for this big moment it is time to get the right gear and go over some pre-race preparation to make sure you are performing at your best come race day.
1) First things first, when considering signing up for a race make sure that you are not biting off more than you can chew. Signing up for a race that you are not physically ready for can be dangerous to your health. If you are unsure of your fitness level you can talk to your doctor or get an opinion from a fitness expert. Be realistic with yourself about your physical abilities. If you have never ran in a race before or haven’t done so in several years, it would probably be best to start with the race that has the least amount of distance and build yourself up from there.
2) The day before your big race make sure to take it easy during your workouts, doing light cardio at the most so that you are well rested and not have muscle soreness the next day. The meals that you eat that day should be balanced with carbohydrates, fat, and proteins without being too heavy. You want a meal that will energize you but at the same time not slow you down.
3) Be sure to hydrate the week before and the day of the race, especially if you are expecting high temperatures during the race. Staying hydrated will help prevent headaches, cramping, and prevent you from getting heat stroke or other serious health risks. Be sure to rest up by getting a full eight hours of sleep. Eat a light snack before the race that will give you energy and keep your blood sugar up.
4) Now that you have the proper fuel to succeed in the race you need the proper gear. Gear is important because it can help or hinder you as you run. Be sure that you have comfortable shoes that are built for running. Comfort insoles or even memory foam will absorb some of the shock from the constant running motion. Any kind of shock absorption in your shoes will reduce the amount of stress place on your joints, which is important for those that may suffer from arthritis or have prior severe knee or ankle injuries. Strive to break-in your running shoes no less than 4 to 6 weeks before the marathon date.
Choose a shirt and shorts made from a breathable material like cotton so that you do not overheat. If you are starting the race in the morning when it is chilly, but it is expected to warm up throughout the day, dress in layers that you can easily peel off as the temperature rises.
Runnersworld.com has a great link for helping you decide what to wear on race day. It has been a fantastic tool for me. Take a peek at it here: http://www.runnersworld.com/what-to-wear.
As the racing season begins, remember these tips and to give your body some recovery time between races. While you may be competitive, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t place first or in the first 100. Anytime you enter a race you are taking a bold step toward improving your health and fully taking hold of life. Have fun and remember that a race is always easier if you are in one with a friend.
It is not important that you win, just that you had the guts to try and did your very best.