Race day is just a few days away! Are you ready? I am. I ran my last long(ish!) run this past weekend and I am feeling good.
As I started planning for the IMT DMM event this week, I realized that there are some things I wish I had known before my first half marathon. If you are running your first full, you may already know these tips from previous long runs, but a review might be good too.
Running long distances is difficult. It takes training and preparation. So from one runner to another, here are my tips for all those anxious athletes participating in their first long-distance race this weekend:
Tip 1. Poop. Yep, be sure to poop. Preferably the morning before the race starts but definitely stop to do it if the urge comes while you are running the race. There is no shame in quickly stopping to use a Porta Potty. On the other hand, there is shame in pooping your pants. Even more shame comes from the Internet where your race pictures could be posted forever. No one needs a permanent reminder of such a “gross” lapse in judgement.
Tip 2. Set out your race clothes, gear, bib, shoes, morning breakfast plan, water bottle, charged device, headphones or anything else you want to use during your race. This makes your life so much easier in the morning when you could be running behind or are tired and forgetful.
Tip 3. Carb load. The few days before your race gradually increase your carbs. The night before, eat some carbs too (sushi is my pre-race ritual!), and definitely have carbs for breakfast the morning of. You will likely want to purchase energy gels or bars in advance to carry with you while you run so that you can carb up during the race as well, especially if you are running the full. All of these carbs will equal more energy (but also more need for my first tip) which will help you finish strong in the end.
Tip 4. Plan out your race day. From where you plan to park to how early you need to get there to helping your cheering section estimate when and where they will likely see you on the route. Know where the water stations, gel stops, first AID, and bathrooms are on the race route, maybe even write the most important mile markers in permanent marker on your forearm. The more you plan the better your experience will be.
Tip 5. Be sure to download your music, play list, pod casts or audio books the night before the race. Every runner and spectator that morning will be updating their Facebook statuses, Tweeting selfies, or making last minute phone calls. Any wireless service available will be overwhelmed and your phone service may be too. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to listen to music during the race if you had planned to do so. One a side note, using devices are typically discouraged at most race events. If you choose to use a device anyway, please be aware of your surroundings and keep your volume low. Running into others, tripping while changing songs, or coming to abrupt stops in order to adjust MapMyRun during a race are dangerous.
So that’s it! Those are my top five. Best of luck this weekend! If you see me at the start or finish line, feel free to introduce yourself! I love to connect with other runners. I’ll be Tweeting at @mamagottarun before and after the event. See you Sunday!