Race day is always exciting, but for some can be nerve-racking. The more you plan on aspects you can control, the more relaxed you will feel when you toe the line. Here are a few tips to ease your nerves on race day:
Before the gun
- Lay everything out: The night before, make sure you lay out everything: what you are going to wear, fuel with, and make sure you have shoes and clothes for after the race. Also, attach your bib to your shirt or shorts.
- Secure your key: If you drive yourself to the race, make sure you secure your car key somewhere that will guarantee it will be there at the end. Sometimes your shorts are not a good idea because that key could end up in the porta-potty toilet. NOT GOOD!
- Warm up wisely: If possible, do a dynamic warm up to make sure you are loose when the gun goes off. Warm up on a nearby road or sidewalk, not a grassy area. If it is a dewy morning, your shoes and socks could be soaked before you even start.
After the gun
- WAIT!: Do not sprint out of the blocks. It is hard to resist from taking off at the start line, but you will need that energy at the end. Start off slow and speed up gradually as you go and then settle in to your pace.
- Look for room: As you ramp up your speed, find some space between you and other runners. You don’t need to bob and weave to find this space. It will come, be patient.
- Drink from the second table: When you enter a water station, there is usually a backup at the first table. Go by the first table and get your water from the second or third table in the station. Make sure you know if water is first or Gatorade and grab what you want.
After the finish line
- Keep moving: Once you cross the finish line, keep moving forward. Grab your water or sports drink and food, but keep moving. Once you start feeling replenished, start with light stretching, but movement will help keep you from tightening up.
- Take the wrap: Mylar race blankets help keep the heat in. After running, you are wet from sweating and your body will start cooling quickly. Keep the heat in with the Mylar sheet until you can put some dry clothes on and get warm.
- Wear the hardware: Drape your finisher’s medal around your neck with pride. You earned it, so wear it proudly. Just make sure you take it off before you go to work on Wednesday.
Race day is a great time to celebrate all the training you have done the past six months to get ready for a marathon. A small amount of planning can go a long way to your enjoyment of the day. Plan accordingly and make this day your day.