You signed up for your first race, you’ve been following a training plan to the best of your ability, and now the date is looming closely on your calendar… now what? These are my tips for running your first race to relieve race day nerves and make it a great experience!
This post is sponsored by Miles and Pace. All thoughts and opinions share are, as always, my own. Thank you for your support of the brands that support Lean, Clean, & Brie!
So, race day is coming up for you. Spring time is a time for a lot of races across the country, heck today is MARATHON MONDAY! As the race date approaches, I know at least for me, the nerves start to set in. Even if I have followed a training plan and have run the distance before, I always get a few butterflies in my stomach. Since I know this is a thing for many, if not most of us, I thought I would pull together some of my own personal tips from what I have gathered from my own race day experiences.
Trust your training
You’ve put in the miles, you’ve hit your goal paces, you’ve done the work. Even if you have missed a workout here or there, in the grand scheme of things, those missed workouts won’t make or break you on race day. Trust that you have done what you can in order to prepare, and remember all of the miles you have put in before your race. You are ready.
Check out the race route before race day
If you are local to the race route, check it out beforehand. Before my first half marathon, I completed a long run along the race route and it settled so many of my nerves for race day. I figured out where I would need to park, where the race was starting, the type of terrain I would be dealing with, and more. Obviously if you are travelling a ways away for your race, this may not be possible, but if it is, I highly recommend it. Whether you actually get out and run along the route or just drive around it to see the area, it will help settle many race day nerves. If you are not able to get to the race route physically, try searching the race on YouTube. Some races will have video footage from previous year’s races and some runners from previous years even record their race so you can check it out through there.
Know race day logistics before race day
It largely depends on the type of race you are running and the race directors of that race, but for every race I have run, I have received many emails leading up to race day letting me in on the logistics. Where to park, where the starting line will be, whether the bathrooms will be open or not, etc. Understanding these logistics will help you figure out what time to arrive, where to arrive, any fees you may incur for parking, all of which will save you time and stress on race day.
Also, understand the logistics of the race itself. Is it a loop course? A point-to-point course? If your race ends differently from where it started, any family or friends there cheering for you should definitely know so they can see you at the finish line. Also, know the terrain of the race course. Is it really hilly? Is it on the trails? Is it residential? Knowing these things will help you better understand the race and prepare yourself mentally and physically for race day.
Practice race day eats beforehand
If you plan on eating before your race, make sure to practice what you will be eating during one of your training runs to see how your body reacts to it. Everyone’s bodies react differently to different foods, and trying something new the day of the race could lead to issues out on the route. My go-to race day breakfast is a bowl of oatmeal, but I know others who cannot handle eating foods with that much fiber in them prior the race. I know that this works for me because I eat a bowl of oatmeal before my long runs and feel fine.
Lay out your race day outfit and all gear the night before
What are you wearing on race day?? The best practice is to wear your race day outfit on a training run (much like practicing fueling) to make sure you won’t have chafing issues or anything of that nature. Once you have your race day outfit ready, lay it out and all gear you will be bringing with you to the race. Having everything laid out and ready to go the night before will let you sleep better the night before the race. No, you aren’t going to have a perfect night of sleep, but not worrying about whether you will remember to pack your shoes or your headphones will allow a much more stress free evening and morning. Just wake up and grab everything and go!
Arrive to your race early
Make sure you know if there will be traffic or construction along your drive to the race and make sure to plan for that. The day of my half marathon, there were road closures due to construction and I am happy that we had given ourselves extra time in order to follow detours and still make it to the race on time. I like to get to races 45 minutes before the start time so I have time to do a light warm up, use the bathroom, and get myself mentally prepared. Arriving early to your race will allow you to make sure you are all set to go and not rushing around to find a parking spot and use the bathroom two minutes before the starting gun goes off.
Use the bathroom beforehand and line up early
Even if you don’t HAVE to go, try going to the bathroom to avoid any stops along the way. By arriving early, you should have plenty of time to wait in line for the bathroom (it goes quicker than it seems) and line up with plenty of time. Head over to the starting line as soon as they announce to start lining up to figure out where to go. Many races line you up in order of your projected pace, so you will want to find your spot and get ready. As soon as I find my spot in line, I connect the GPS to my Garmin Forerunner so I am ready to hit “run” as soon as I cross over the starting line. Listen to last minute directions that the race director may announce. Take deep breaths, and trust your training. You’ve made it, enjoy the ride.
Miles & Pace Review and Giveaway
Now that I have shared my tips for running your first race, you are ready to go, right?! Certainly not without some new gear! I have partnered with Miles & Pace Clothing + Goods to share these tips with you and get you to that starting line excited. Miles & Pace is a laid back active lifestyle brand that features running tanks, tops, and hats to inspire your running journey. You’ve seen me pictured above in the “Sunday Runday” tank and the brand features much more.
Miles & Pace is a small start up that I am excited to partner with and see grow. The tank I have is soft and perfect for everything from track workouts to long runs, especially as warmer temperatures are making their way on the forecast. The tank has a tight fit and I have come to love wearing it on my own Sunday Runday to encourage me to push through the tough patches and keep running.
And, Miles & Pace has graciously offered one lucky reader their own Miles & Pace trucker hat! Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below to win a purple Miles & Pace Trucker Hat. Perfect for any upcoming races!
Giveaway runs until April 28 and is open to residents of the United States only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway