The week before race day is an exciting time. You’ve put in months of hard work training, nourishing your body, skipping nights out with your friends and picturing yourself crossing the finish line with a sweet PR. Make the most of all that hard work by having your race checklist all ready to go before the morning of. You’ll most likely already have some jitters the morning of your race, so make sure you’re not stressed trying to get things together at the last second. Here’s a race planning checklist to make sure you’re prepared for the big day.
Starting from the bottom and moving upward is an easy way to make sure you’ve thought of everything. Although your brand new shoes would look great in your race-day pictures, you shouldn’t wear new shoes to your event. Make sure your shoes are well broken in and have plenty of room for your toes (see our last post about keeping your toenails happy for awesome tips). If you haven’t trained in the shoes you wear to an event you are much more likely to be uncomfortable during the race, get blisters, and possibly injure yourself.
Same story goes for your socks and any other clothing you wear during your race. Make sure everything you wear on race day has been worn during your training. Hopefully during training you’ve found the perfect pair of socks using our guide to keeping your toenails happy. If not, use what you’ve been running in and try new socks while training for your next event.
Check the weather to see what conditions will be like during your race. If it’s going to be hot, shorts are a great option. If it’s going to be cool in the morning and warm up during the race, you might want an easily removable pair of pants to wear over your shorts. Cool weather might call for a pair of lined running tights. Whatever you choose, make sure it fits the conditions and is something you’ve worn during training that doesn’t rub in the wrong places or cause chaffing.
If you’ve read our previous posts, you’ve learned our rule for choosing clothing layers. Start by dressing as if it’s 20 degrees warmer and you’re going to watch a soccer game outside. This is a good gauge for your base layer, the layer you’ll be in when you’re warmed up and the weather is nice. Then, add another layer that you would be comfortable in if you were going on a short, slow walk in the current temperature. Make sure it’s easy to remove or has zippers to let more air in as you warm up.
Same story goes for your running top. Check the weather to know what’s best. Will you wear a t-shirt or tank top? Will you need a rain jacket or wind-breaker at any point? Would a long-sleeve be better? Be prepared for what will keep you comfortable without making you feel like a pack mule.
Generally, you’ll pick up your race packet, including your race bib, before your event. Make sure to get your Race Bib Tape on Amazon Once you have the race bib, you can put your Race Bib Tape on the back of your bib and leave the back lining on so it’s ready to apply to your shirt in the morning. Alternatively, you can attach your bib to your shirt so it’s one less thing to think about on the day of. Having extra Race Bib Tape in your hydration belt or a zip pocket can be useful in case your clothing isn’t staying in place how you want, or you switch layers during the race and want to move your bib.
Gear and Nutrition
Don’t forget your hat or sunglasses if it will be sunny. If you’ve been using a hydration belt, fill your bottles the night before. If you’ve been training with goo or chews and want to use them during the race, make sure they’re in your belt or ready to go in your pocket. Again, this is not the time to try something new. If you haven’t tried a specific drink mix, goo or chews, do not risk an awkward bathroom moment during your race by trying something for the first time on race day.
This is also a good time to plan what, if anything, you’ll eat before your race. Again, be sure it’s something you’ve been eating before your runs. Have it all ready to go so you don’t have to think or stress in the morning.
Directions and Race Day Plan
Make sure you have directions or know how to get to the location you are to meet at for your race. There are few things more stressful on race day than showing up at the wrong place, not knowing where to park, or not being able to find the pickup location on race day. Have a plan in place so you know who will drive you, where you are going and how to get there.
To Carb Load or Not to Carb Load?
There are a lot of schools of thought behind this question. Do what you feel is right for you. Make sure you have enough nutrition going into race day to help you feel energized and ready to go. Don’t eat anything or any amount you think might give you any bathroom trouble the morning of your race. It’s always a good idea to try different things before your long runs in training to know what will work best for you before race day.
Because you used this awesome checklist and got everything ready to go early, you can sleep easy knowing you’re prepared! Your training is complete, your race day items are ready to go and you’re well fed. Now get to bed and give your body the rest it needs before you crush your PR in the morning.
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