By Alana Bonner
Pre-Race Prep: What do you do to get ready for the big day?
Have you ever had a nightmare about arriving at a race without your running shoes and suffering through 21.1k in flip flops? Well I have! So to quell my deepest darkest race day fears I prepare (or more precisely, over-prepare) the night before my race. Here’s a glance at my top 5 pre-race tips I use to ensure I am all ready to go when the start gun goes off!
Registration confirmation & date/time double check!
Am I actually registered for this race or did I imagine it? Is the race on Saturday or Sunday? These may seem like funny questions, but failure to double check these simple things can result in unpleasant surprises on race day. I’ve gotten up at the crack of dawn and excitedly driven an hour to a race on a Sunday morning only to arrive to an empty parking lot with used water cups and banana peels strewn about. Guess when that race was? Saturday! Similarly, I’ve presented myself at the race kit pick-up desk on the morning of a race only to find out that I’d forgotten to sign up for the race! Now I double check, triple check, and quadruple check the exact date and time of the event and ensure I have a printed copy of my race registration confirmation in my hand before anything else. Some online registration platforms also offer the ability to view the list of registered runners. Not only is that a great way to make sure your online registration went through, it’s also a sneak peek at how many runners you’ll be sharing the starting corral with!
Where am I going? How am I getting there? What is the parking situation?
Not every race will be within a 5 minute walk from your front door. Besides the feeling of knowing you are well trained and ready to tackle the race course, nothing feels better than being confident you know exactly where and how you’ll get to the event. Race morning is not the time to start checking your mapping apps and asking for directions. Your mind should be in race-mode, not traffic navigation mode.
If you’re driving to the event, simply knowing how to get there is not enough: Where will you park? Is available parking close to the race site? Is there a shuttle bus from the parking lot? Don’t arrive unprepared and waste your precious warm-up and pre-race port-o-potty time trying to find your way around blocked roads to parking lots that are full!
I love my GPS watch. It gives me the data I need to confidently maintain and execute my race plan. Unfortunately batteries don’t stay charged forever, so don’t fall victim to the low battery woes: check your gear the night before!
Some people love to race with music. Besides making sure your gear is charged, your earphones work, and your favourite playlist is ready to go, also make sure you haven’t accidentally selected the “repeat” button on one song. Wonder who fell victim to that rookie mistake? Me! Yes, I listened to the same song on repeat for 21.1km joyous kilometres and can now expertly sing every word of Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger” as a result!
Wardrobe: No malfunctions please!
Everyone always says “don’t try anything new on race day” and I’m here to tell you one more time: take that advice! From socks to arm warmers, underpants to hair ties, sunglasses to tights, a great way to ruin your race is to show up wearing something you’ve never run in before and suffer the consequences of a mid-race wardrobe malfunction. I wanted nothing more than to wear a pair of red spandex tights for my Santa-themed race so when those tights arrived in the mail the afternoon before my race I was ecstatic! Fast-forward to the next morning when I looked fabulous dressed all in red but quickly lost my usual cheerfulness when the starting gun went off and I tried to run in those lovely tights for the first time in my life — there was nothing fun about the next 5 kilometres of struggling to hold the slippery spandex tights up so they wouldn’t fall right down around my ankles!
Lay it all out the night before!
You don’t want to be scrambling the morning of a race, frantically wondering whether you have everything packed away at the last minute only to arrive at the race and realize you don’t have any socks! Save the rush, save the stress, save the second guessing: lay it all out the night before!
Alana Bonner is iRun’s newest columnist. Have questions about racing, about preparations, about life? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and the runner with the most races on Sportstats will respond.