Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Crash Course for the Race Course

The first race I ever ran felt like a junior high dance.  I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do.  I wished I had headphones and sunglasses like every other runner so I looked cool and confident. 50 plus races later I’ve learned that races aren’t all I hyped them up to be.  Anyone can race; it’s not for some elite crowd of people.

The Burn Your Lungs Run 5K, 10K and ½ Marathon is only 2 days away.  Here is your race day survival guide so that you don’t have to relive the awkwardness of a junior high dance. 

The day before the race is just as important as race day.  Plan and visualize how your race will go in the early afternoon of the day before you race. Don’t stay up late fretting about the next morning.  Lay out all your race day clothing, pin your bib number on the front of your shirt (if you have it), set out any special food or drink you may need for race day, and set multiple alarms.  The irony of life is that your alarm clock will malfunction on race day; it’s happened to many a runner.

You’ll want to eat a normal dinner the night before the race.  This is not the time to overeat or try sushi for the first time.  Stick to the foods and portions you normally eat.

On race morning take a hot shower.  It will help you wake up, warm up your muscles, and improve your flexibility.  Eat something light 2 hours before the race.  Once again, this is not the time to try something new. If you are a coffee drinker, drink coffee.  If you are not, this is not the time to start! Don’t drink too much though.  Over-hydrating the day of the race will leave you stopping at every porta-potty.  Instead drink a little extra for 2 to 3 days leading up to the race. 

Arrive at the race start at least 30 minutes early. Warm up with walking or a light jog. Vigorous stretching will wear your muscles out, save it for after the race.

The race start can be intense.  It’s easy to run too fast at the beginning and end up dragging yourself across the finish line.  Hold back a bit at the beginning so that you have enough steam at the end. 

When you come to an aid station along the course, don’t stop directly in front of it while you take a drink.  Others are coming behind you and they need room to grab some water as well.  Instead, grab your cup and continue past the aid station before you stop to drink.  It’s also courteous to thank the volunteers manning the aid stations. 

If your race is going to take longer than 1 hour you need to eat and drink while you run.  The goal is to consume 25 – 60 grams of carbohydrates and 8 – 16 ounces of fluid per hour.

There’s the scoop on surviving race day.  If you haven’t registered for the Burn Your Lungs Run, now is the time to do it.  Go to, or look for the registration booth at the Oyster Ridge Music Festival on Friday evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  Remember, racing is not for an elite group of people – it’s for everyone, which includes YOU!

1 comment:

  1. Really good tips. I may refer some people over here. It's that starting out easy that's really tough for me. Pacing is a really difficult thing to learn.