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Top Tips for Race Day Preparations!

So often the race day is the end of a long process, it’s something you’ve been building up to, looking forward to (or not?!) and pinning your hopes on.  The first thing to bear in mind about race day is that there is a lot of things out side of your control, a lot of things go on around you that may affect your race.  For this reason be cautious about setting your standard of success only on a time unless you can guarantee you will be in the elite section and be able to get across the start line quickly and away from trouble particularly in crowded races such as the London Marathon.

A race day is a very different day to any other in your life, because of this your circadian rhythm is unlikely to be in tune with your race day cycle.  If you haven’t been to many races the whole process might also be new to you, and the anxiety and stress that goes along with this may also affect your performance.

So here are our top tips:

  • Go to the start line a couple of days before if you can, figure out how long it takes you to get there and where you can park.  You may then want to add an hour on to the time you are supposed to be there to collect your number and things to allow for traffic, queuing and difficulty parking.
  •   Eat, sleep, wake and train at the time of day you will need to for your race for a couple of days before.  This begins to adjust your circadian rhythm and means your body will be ready to perform at time of day you need it to rather than 6 hours before or after.
  •   Leave yourself time to go to the loo before you leave, you don’t want to get caught short or in the long portaloo queues.
  •   Pack your bag the night before including your post race refueling snacks in case you can’t get to food for a while.
  •   Stick to the race plan.  Don’t go out too fast because you feel great or too slow because you’re panicking just keep an eye on your watch and stick to the plan.
  •   Only drink and take on board fuels and drinks you have used in training so your stomach is used to it otherwise you might get an upset stomach
  •   Hydrate regularly through the race – the water stations aren’t there just to look pretty!
  •   Check out the course before so you have a rough idea of where the nasty hills and long flats are so you don’t get any cheeky surprises.
  •   Make sure you take time a few days before to visualize the race, imagine yourself running well, freely, enjoying it and most importantly finishing strongly.
Regardless of how far you run during the race take 2 minutes at the start and the finish line to reflect on how far you have actually come. Everyone’s journey to race day is different, but it always a massive achievement. Congratulate yourself and celebrate. Finally look forward to it, be excited, thrive on the challenge and smile.
Kemi Egan