Tips for Being Race Day Ready

Now that the fall racing season is upon us, many runners are worried about doing everything necessary in order to make sure that we’re ready for the start line.  Aside from putting forth your best effort with your training, what else can you do to be ready on race day and reduce pre-race stress?

race day ready

The Day Prior to the Race:

  1. If the race has a pre-race packet pickup option, such as at an expo, take advantage of this.  This will be one less line you have to wait in on race day.
  2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.  You want to be well hydrated for the big race.
  3. Try to stay off your feet as much as possible.
  4. Check the weather forecast and plan your race day outfit accordingly.
  5. Lay out your race clothes, as well as any running gear you might need for the race (including but not limited to socks, body glide, hair tie(s), headband(s), sunglasses, hydration belt or handheld water bottle, gels and/or chews, and watch).

    flat Kathryn

    Flat Kathryn ready for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach last month

  6. Make sure that any electronics that you need on race day are charged (GPS watch, iPod, camera, etc).
  7. Pack your gear check bag, if you plan to check one.
  8. Eat a dinner that you’ve previously had.  The last thing you want is an upset stomach the night before a big race.
  9. Go to bed early.

On Race Day:

  1. Eat a pre-run breakfast that you’ve tested out previously.  Race day is not the time to test out new foods.
  2. Put your bib and/or racing chip on before you leave.  The last thing you want to do is leave these behind!
  3. Leave with plenty of time to make it to the race without being stressed.  Be sure to leave enough time to check your gear bag and to use the bathroom, and plan for there to be lines.  There are always lines, especially for the porta potties.

Following these 12 tips should make race day a bit less stressful, and allow you to focus on running your best possible race!

QOTD: What tips do you have for runners to ensure that they’re race day ready?

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48 Responses to Tips for Being Race Day Ready

  1. Great list! The only thing I would add is coordinating transportation and any rendez-vous with your spectating crew. Seeing this made me really excited for my marathon in a few weeks!

  2. Great tips! I also like to review the course map, just to get the lay of the land. And make sure your devices (phone, garmin, etc) are charged!

  3. I actually like to make sure I’m loose and stretched the day before/morning of, so that means walking around as usual (4-5 miles throughout the day, easily) for me 🙂

  4. Great tips! I always lay out all that I need (including my outfit) the night before to ensure I don’t forget anything!

  5. Yes to all of these! I’d also add to take a look at the course (like Wendy said) and elevation, so you know how to prepare yourself and know when you’ll need to push yourself the hardest. I made the mistake of not looking a course map before the race, and was surprised in the worst way by how hilly it was! haha – Know the race you’re running, and last but not least, have fun!

  6. mkadens1 says:

    Yes to all! The more I prep before race day, the better off I am. I also like to focus on logistics. Transportation to the race, parking, where is gear check, etc.

  7. Great tips! I always lay my outfit and anything else I need out the night before. One less thing you have to worry abut in the morning. Making a check list is also a good idea for those racecations for packing So you don’t forget anything.

  8. Lesley says:

    Reviewing the course map is a must. My 5k on Saturday has one water stop so I know I need to bring a handheld bottle with me. One water stop may not be enough for me.

  9. Thank you for the tips! I will definitely use these come January when I run my first half marathon 🙂

  10. Shannon says:

    I think you covered it well! I always make a list, that way I don’t forget anything. With race day nerves, it’s easy to do.

  11. This is a great list! I could even print it out as a checklist to pack! The only thing I’d add was to have FUN! 🙂

  12. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    I have gotten so lax when it comes to race day prep, I really need to up my game. I always seem to forget something!

  13. H.A.G. says:

    Thank you! What a timely list- doing a race this weekend, and I haven’t in a while~ This is a good reminder!

  14. These are great tips especially hydrating that’s my main focus really

  15. Jennifer says:

    Great tips! The one I always almost forget is to charge my watch!

  16. Very great list, I agree with all of them! I always tell people if packet pick up lasts 2 days, go the first day it’s just so much nicer and you actually get in and if there is good stuff to grab, you get first dibbs:)
    My pre-race tip is, get out and go for a light run the morning before. No more than a mile, just to keep things loose. Especially if you just arrived from traveling the day before. But that run should be early morning, not late afternoon. Then the rest of the day, like you mentioned above, take it easy or only do what never tires you out!

  17. Ariana says:

    I am all about pinning on my bib before I leave! I forgot it once and then had to make a mad dash back to my apartment! Far more stress than I needed on race morning 😉

  18. Great list! I would add review the race route and where the porta-pottys and water stations are so that if those are needed you’ll know where they are. Have a great fall race season!

  19. kristenk says:

    Great tips! I’m always afraid that I’m going to leave my bib behind, so that’s a big one for me!

  20. Erin says:

    great tips! I always feel a little crazy when I pull EVERYTHING OUT and put it in one spot before a race, but it really helps with pre-race nerves. 🙂

  21. Melinda says:

    Race Day Tip (when traveling to the race): Lay out your Race Day outfit before you pack. Then put it all in a giant freezer ziploc bag together. That way, you know you packed everything, and it’s all set to lay out when you get to the hotel. 🙂

  22. Jessica says:

    Nice tips! I also like the list of things to pack and charge prior to race day. I have been caught when my harm in didn’t charge! A couple things I’ve learned over the years is to pack extra. I mean like tank top, long sleeve, tshirt, rain coat…. Etc. Because you’ll never know what the weather will be like when you get there. If I happen to wear a tshirt, I could change into a tank top easily if I feel that’s what will make me feel more comfortable. I also pack an extra set of clothes for after the race. Especially if you have a long car ride home.

  23. Because... I'm cheap says:

    Great tips for race day planning. I’ve scheduled to share this on Twitter. Thanks for linking up at the #SundayBlogHop 🙂

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