Race Day Preparation for your Next Half Marathon or Marathon: Top 21 Things You Need to Know Before Your Next Race!
A marathon or half marathon is a great event in anyone?s life. You can help make your race day and minimize race day jitters by preparation the next before. Here is a list of twenty one things that will prepare you for this special day!
1. The Expo is great fun. If you have the option it is best to hit the expo a few days before if you want to try the new bars, drinks, products, etc. It is best not to try new things the day or evening before. The equipment you buy should not be for the next day?s race but in the future. Load up on freebies, fun and motivation. Talk to speakers but try to minimize your standing. It is also more fun to go with a buddy or find a new buddy and hit the expo. You will find many interesting people at the expo. Don?t be afraid to talk to people and find out their interest and motivation for the race. Some friendships last for a lifetime.
2. Food is another important thing to think about for marathon preparation. Some runners suggest you cut out raw vegetables the day before, avoid salty oriental good and get plenty of healthy simple carbohydrates the day before. If you stay at a hotel be sure to bring your own food. It is important to know what your body can handle for a long distance. Runners that I have talked to like oatmeal, Gatorade, string cheese, a piece of toast, peanut butter and jelly and hard boiled eggs. If you tested the food by eating an hour or two before your long runs you should be all set.
3. Expert marathoners differ on times getting to the race. If you stay close by check to see how many are registered for the race. One race I was a part of all I had to do was walk across the street after a last minute potty break and I was all set. The recent marathon that I participated in required that I was in the chute 45 minutes before the event and I arrived two hours before the race.
Supplies are essential for the race. Some supplies that are necessary for the race include:
Racing shoes (Have been tested on a long run and have been worn for at least three weeks.)
Race Socks (Two pairs that have been washed and used in long races before.)
Race Singlet or appropriate Race Outfits
Safety pins to put on your race number or on your bag with your number.
Don?t wear 100% cotton shirts, pants, or shorts but a dry weave wicking, or Coolmax clothing.
Racing Pants or Shorts
Or your favorite foods tested on a long run.
Your analgesic of choice
Fuel Belt with Gatorade and Water (The last two marathons I have run in Chicago have run out of both!)
Heart Rate Monitor
Sweat and head bands
Change of Clothes
Sandals or Crocs for after the race
Bandana, knit cap or racing hat
Breathe right strips
Small container with ice to use for an injuries after the race.
Map of the course (Especially if the marathon is small or the race is called and you still want to finish.) Some race officials and websites offer you a virtual path of the course.
Bus and Train schedule ( This is essential if you need an alternate way home from a race. Recently I ran a race in which my ride left without me. Backup plans are a must.)
Charity or Tent Band (If you have a specific place to go after the marathon)
Throw Away Clothes
Large garbage bag for rain cover
Plastic Bag for Wet Clothes
Put your Name on your Singlet or Bib, when you hear the crowd yelling your Name you will feel the Energy
Toilet Paper and Kleenex
Instant Antibacterial Soap
Place to store your keys like a necklace, key clip
5. Medical information on your shoe or on a necklace with important numbers to call in an emergency, your blood type, medical conditions, etc.
6. Some marathons are impossible to find a bathroom and you have to be creative when Mother Nature calls. A buddy system is great to use for a quick look out behind bushes, alleys, etc.
7. Hand wipes and Instant Hand Sanitizer. 80% of Germs are spread mostly by the hands.
8. Put on your racing number and chip on the night before.
9. Put all of your clothing and supplies in one place the night is before so that you can jump into your outfit and do a quick check of all your supplies. A list works well. Also, plan for a thirty degree change. There is nothing wrong with having two or three good outfits for a change in the weather. This is essential for a fall or spring marathon.
10. Bring an outfit you can throw away at the start if you are standing in the cold for a long time. A thrift store is a great place to pick up your outfit and after you get rid of it goes back to sell to someone else.
11. Prepare the night before. Put on your number get your supplies together that you sued before. Do not skip medicines.
12. Get to bed two days early before the race. It is important that you get a good night?s sleep.
13. Keep track of the weather. It is easy to see what the weather will be like daily by clicking on the website and seeing the current and race day conditions.
14. Wake up early and wake up slowly. Have two alarms set.
15. If the race is close try to do a short warm up and if the race requires you to walk you have already done a warm-up.
16. Stay relaxed. Stay positive and don?t stress about details. Visualize your success and mentally prepare for walls and mental roadblocks during the race.
17. Smile a lot. A good attitude helps you during a long run or race and encourages others around you. You will get more smiles than you give.
18. Have a plan for those watching you during the race. Make sure that they have a map, a sign and know what outfit or outfits you may be wearing. Ask them what they will be wearing and keep an eye out for them. ( Recently I wore a yellow bandana at a race and was really easy to spot.)
19. Make sure you well hydrated during the final week.
20. Have an alternative for getting home. Emergencies happen and it is rare but at times runners can get stuck at an event. It is nice to know the train route or have an alternative buddy to take you home.
21. Pray. Pray for the race, the runners, the volunteers and the medical teams that will be treating the injured and critically ill. No matter what is the outcome of the race is thankful for the opportunity to compete and what a gift it is to run!
Dangy, Scott Runner?s World Complete Book of Women?s Running, Rodale, NY, 2000
Running for Dummies, IDG Books World Wide, Inc, Foster City, CA, 1999
Robbins, Wendy and Vilines, Alyce The every woman?s guide to Marathoning, Pentagon Publishing Park Ride, IL 2006