Are you about to run your first race? If you are than congratulations! Do you realize that you have already succeeded? But before you get out there and enjoy your many hours of training, here are a few things to remember that will be sure to help eliminate some of your stress and hopefully any injuries. Oh, by the way… GOOD LUCK!
THE WEEK BEFORE THE RACE
Stop stressing. 5Ks and 10Ks are hugely positive community events. You get to spend a morning with strangers cheering you on, feeding you and offering water, and celebrating doing something healthy for yourself. Everyone fears that they’ll be last, but don’t worry. In all likelihood, you won’t be. People with a very wide range of abilities and levels of fitness do 5Ks, and many people just go to walk them from start to finish.
Cover the route beforehand. If you can, work out on the route where the race will take place so you can get familiar with where you’ll need to push and where you can cruise. Finding the race start beforehand will prevent you from getting lost on race morning!
Don’t eat anything heavy within two hours of the race. A smoothie containing fruit and yogurt is always a good choice because it gives you a good balance of carbs and protein but not too much fiber.
THE DAYS BEFORE THE RACE
Don’t do anything new. Race week isn’t the time to try new shoes, new food or drinks, new gear, or anything else you haven’t used on several workouts. Stick with the routine that works for you.
Get off your feet. In the days before you race, try to stay off your feet as much as possible. Relax, and leave the lawn mowing or shopping or sightseeing for after the race.
Graze, don’t chow down. Rather than devouring a gigantic bowl of pasta the night before the race, which could upset your stomach, try eating carbs in small increments throughout the day before the race.
Limit your sipping. Yes, you need to stay hydrated, but no major drinking 30 minutes before the gun; sip if your mouth is dry or it’s particularly hot out. Some athletes will take a mouthful and use it as a rinse and spit. Your best bet is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Aim for half your body weight in ounces. So for instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, aim for 100 ounces of calorie-free fluids like water each day. If you weigh 160 pounds, aim for 80 ounces per day.
Arrive early. Get to the race at least one hour before the start so you’ll have time to pick up your number (if you don’t already have it).
AFTER THE RACE
Keep moving. Get your medal and keep walking for at least 10 minutes to fend off stiffness and gradually bring your heart rate back to its resting state. Be sure to do some post race recovery stretches to stretch out your legs, back, and hips.
Refuel. There are usually snacks at the finish line, but what the race provides may not sit well with you. To recover quickly, bring a snack with a combination of protein to rebuild muscles and healthy carbs to restock your energy stores. Consume it within 30 minutes of finishing the race.
Original article on Runner’s World here[ninja-inline id=6830]