How long has it been since you last raced? Racing is oh so slowly beginning to open up. Are you a bit rusty about what to do the night before a race? Or maybe you’re new to running and you need some tips to help you set yourself up for success before a long run.
I’ve got you covered with these six tips!
Know your go-to meal/s
One of the main points of training is that you do nothing new on race day. That’s why we practice! Try out several pre-long run day meals. See which ones seem to agree most with your stomach — and your long run the next day.
If you’re racing from home, now you know exactly what to eat before the race. If you’ve traveled to race, make sure you’ve tried out a meal that will be easy to find at your destination.
Of course you can try something new — just be prepared for potential consequences
Lay out everything
And I do mean everything!
- Accessories: hair ties, sunglasses, hat/visor, gaiter, gloves, socks
- Bottles for beverages, if you carry your own
- Any beverage mix you’ll be mixing up the next morning
- Race belt or pins
- Anti chafe product
- Tape, arm or leg sleeves, braces
- Ziploc bags for if it’s rainy and you need to put your electronics in it
- Bag for pre/post race stuff
- License/money (if I had a $ for every time I forget my license!)
- Car keys (or every time I can’t find my car keys when I really need them)
- Foam roller or balls
- Anything you can leave out that you’ll have for breakfast
- Shoes — make sure you have a left & right shoe (even if they don’t match)
You’ll sleep better knowing that you have everything is ready for the next day and there’s no reason to waste time.
During the day, make sure to hydrate well . . .
. . . but know your cut off time. The time where if you continue to drink, you know you’re going to have to get up to use the bathroom. For me that’s usually around 5 pm!
Don’t overdo the hydration. You can’t make up for not hydrating well in the days leading up to your race by slamming liquids the day before your race — trust me, this will backfire on you.
So keep in mind that the time to really hydrate is in the three days or so leading up to your race.
You don’t have to be a zombie, but now is not the time to go on that strenuous hike or do heavy lifting. Of course if you’re traveling and you want to hike the day before your race, go for it! Just now that it’s unlikely to be a PR, if that’s what you’re shooting for.
I highly recommend that if you’ve tried meditation and you actually enjoy it (or at the very least tolerate it), meditate before you go to sleep. This will help you to relax, both in your body and your mind, and may help you sleep better.
Normally meditation will absolutely help you sleep better, but we’ve all had that restless night before a race, right? It will still help to relax your body and calm your mind.
Charge up all your electronics
A dead Garmin is a real buzzkill at a race — unless, of course, you love to race naked. By naked I mean without a GPS watch, although there are a few races you can actually do naked, if that’s your thing.
Set an alarm — or two
I set my alarm on my Garmin Vivoactive, and since I wear that 24/7, there’s no worry that I’m going to forget to wear it or have it by me. I do need to remember to charge it up before I go to sleep — and usually to top it up a bit before I actually leave for my race.
I don’t normally sleep with my phone on, but before a race I do usually use it as a backup for my Garmin. I’ve never slept through my Garmin yet, but two is better than one. So I’ll have my phone charging, set to do not disturb (no middle of the night calls or texts), and have a second alarm go off a little after my Garmin is set to wake me. Just in case.
If you’re new to running or racing, this may seem a little overwhelming. Plenty of people have a much smaller pre-race routine, too. You’ll find out what works for you.
If you want to get a great night’s sleep before your race, these tips will help. Over time you’re pre race routine will become just that: routine. A ritual. Your body loves routines and rituals!
Are you looking forward to some RL races soon?
How long has it been since you raced?
What do you do pre-race/LSD that I didn’t mention?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.