Week Before Race Day:
- Be conscious of hydration and try to drink regularly (no need to over hydrate)
- Review race information (including the course map) usually on the race website.
1-2 days before race:
- The day before the race, REST! Make your last run an easy one- remember you are tapering for race day and should be taking it easy in the days leading up to the race.
- Stay hydrated! Again, no need to force yourself to drink more than usual, but be mindful of making sure you are drinking enough to stay hydrated.
- Packet Pick-up: Pick-up your packet in advance. This will help to cut down on race morning rushing around and waiting in lines.
- Night before: last large meal approximately 12 hours before race. No need to "carb load" as in gorging on carbs- just focus on eating a higher percentage of calories from carbs (70-75%). Avoid very spicy foods.
- Lay out everything you'll need to bring the morning of the race: shoes/insoles, socks, shorts, Fleet Feet T-shirt :), watch, hat/visor, sunglasses, dry clothes for after race (optional), Race number (pinned to front of shirt), Safety pins, Ipico chip, Race instructions (included in packet), Sunscreen, Water bottle and hydration, Pre-race nutrition, Inhaler/medications (if applicable). If it's raining, hat with brim, lightweight rain jacket or plastic trash bag (see below)
- Get a good night's sleep!
Morning of the race:
- Know where the race starts! Be sure to double check the race website.
- Plan to eat a light high complex carb meal 1-3 hours before the race (between approx. 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.) Eat something you know will not upset your stomach, e.g., something you have eaten prior to training or racing before. Suggestions include whole wheat toast with peanut butter, cereal, or steel cut oatmeal with berries.
- Drink 2-3 glasses of water with your early morning meal
- If it is raining: remember to bring a hat with a brim to keep the rain out of your eyes; also consider bringing a lightweight water resistant jacket or create your own disposable one from a large trash bag with a hole cut out for your head. You can wear this to starting line then take it off and discard it immediately before the race begins. Also remember to bring a change of clothes for after the race as well as a second pair of dry shoes!
- Plan to arrive an hour or more prior to the scheduled race start time. This will help with race morning stress in case of any last minute issues that may arise.
- Do not eat simple sugars in last hour before race start ( If you eat mostly simple sugars such as candy or sweets, your blood glucose levels will spike and then drop rapidly, leaving you with low glucose levels at the start of the race).
- Drink 1-2 glasses of water 10-30 minutes prior to race start, but plan bathroom stops accordingly (there will be porta potties and bathrooms available in the starting area).
- Make sure number is securely fastened to the front of your shirt with safety pins
- Make sure your tag is tied to your shoelaces. (If applicable - varies by race.)
- Runners should seed themselves at start line according to expected pace/finish time. Faster runners towards the front, slower runners towards the back. Your IPICO chip will not activate your time until you cross the start line so there is NO RUSH to get over the start line after the gun goes off!
- Headphones are strongly discouraged in races; try to leave yours behind on race day. You won't need them-the excitement of the crowd and running with others will keep you entertained!
- The start will be crowded but will thin out quickly. Don't waste a ton of energy trying to weave in and out of people in front of you- pick the path of least resistance and try to stick with it!
During the Race:
- Have FUN!! You've trained well and hard for this and you are physically able- the rest is psychological!
- Don't go out too fast! If you feel like you are going too slowly, you are probably running at an appropriate pace.
- Aim to drink 6-8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes, although practically speaking you will probably take in less if you are taking from the water stations on the course. When taking water, slow down and reach out your hand to grab cup of water offered by course volunteers. If you are running through the water station, crunch the top of the cup into a spout and drink it through the side of your mouth, which will help prevent you from getting a nose full of water! If you prefer, you can slow down to a walk through the water station to take the water, but keep in mind there are runners behind you and move as far to the right as possible if you plan to stop and walk. Head for the last water table instead of the first which is usually very congested !!
Finish Line and Post-Race:
- Run all the way through the finish line and continue moving once you cross the finish mat
- SMILE! Course photographers will likely be at the finish taking pictures, and you should be able to see the pictures online within a few days after the race.
- Remove chip and return prior to leaving finish area
- Get some water- bottles will be available at the finish, along with food
- Meet coaches, pacers and other runners back at the Fleet Feet tent to get your Fleet Feet medal if you didn't get it at the finish line.
- Try to consume a meal with carbs and protein within 1-2 hours after the race. Ideal recovery "meal" is lowfat chocolate milk, with the ideal ratio of carbs to protein (4:1)!
- Be PROUD of your accomplishment and think about setting some new goals- another 10K, a 10-miler, maybe even a half or full marathon at some point? The possibilities are endless!!
- In the days following the race, take some time to recover before slowly ramping back up to the level we were at the week prior to the last week of the program. Do some easy cross-training the 2-3 days following the race- easy walking, elliptical, cycling, swimming to keep your muscles from getting tight.
Training Program Coordinator
RRCA Certified Coach
Fleet Feet Sports Certified Coach
Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg, MD