Tips for having a stress free and enjoyable weekend!
You made the decision to run the race. You’ve trained and prepared for weeks/months. Now comes the actual race weekend. Yikes! Everyone takes a lot of time to plan a vacation around the race but what most people forget about is that there are between 10,000 and 20,000 people doing the exact same thing. So, don’t panic, just follow these easy steps and enjoy the ride! Here are a few things to consider for traveling out of town for a race and keeping your sanity in check!
1 – Don’t Procrastinate Booking a Hotel – Just book it early! Larger races have a host hotel(s) that offer packages and perks, including transportation to and from the race (or a short walk to the start), early morning coffee/snacks race morning, guaranteed late checkout, etc. There may be cheaper options available but considering the conveniences that come with the package, it is typically worth the price. Yes compare and get the best deal for you – but do not wait long to book it.
2 – Print All Confirmations - Make copies of everything and make a separate file for travel reservations, race information, race waiver, etc. It just makes life easier for you now – than to take your frustration out on a poor volunteer later!
3 - Watch The Weather - If you are traveling bring race clothing for all occasions: cold, hot, and rain. The Weather Channel is brilliant – all the race/event organizers watch it, you should to! Oh, yeah and that have an app …
4 – Never Wear New Clothing - Always have a trial run in your race clothes to ensure everything fits and will not cause future issues during your race. This includes shoes, socks, and even underwear. YOU NEVER KNOW! Chafing has caused many an ill-fitted runner out of their race!
5 – Take It Easy The Day Before- Keep physical activity to a minimum the day before the race. Especially stay away from those high heels that could cause sore feet or twisting of the ankles! We like to call it “cocooning” – it just sounds cool.
6 – Expo Tips - Do not try new foods, gels, or drinks. There are always a lot of goodies and freebies to try at expos but they may not always agree with you. Take your packaged goodies with you for later but the day before a race is not the best time to test them out. If you do not follow this advice – you may visit a host of porta-potties along the race course come race day!
7 – Planning Meals & Restaurants - Everyone counts down the days to “carb load” before the race so be prepared to wait at your favorite pasta restaurant. Make reservations in advance! Call ahead or place food orders to go. Many events still do pasta parties or recommend eateries – you don’t want to wait 1 – 2 hours to eat the night before the big race! Remember to have something for breakfast race morning! Be sure you have a light meal that you’ve had before, whether it is a bagel with peanut butter or something else. Don’t skip it!
8 – Set Out Race Day Attire – Alarms go off in the wee hours of the morning on race day so prepare the night before so that you do not forget anything. Set out all of your clothing along with your race bib, pins, watch, gels, body glide, shoes, and your race timing d-tag or chip.
9 – Traffic- Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Know your route if you’re driving to the race and have a backup plan in case of heavy traffic or construction.
10 – Race Start – If the race is a larger event, you will need to know where to go to start. If you have a specified start corral, you will know in your race packet “start Instructions.” These are usually done by ‘color’ or ‘number’ i.e. Blue Corral. The idea is to stage by how fast you are going to run – with the elite/fast runners at the front. The signs at the start will either have either a minutes/per mile time (8:00 – 9:00) or an estimated finish time (4:00 hours – 4:30, etc.). Line up accordingly and relax! Enjoy the crowd energy – everyone is feeding off it! Great mojo! It doesn’t hurt as you make your way to the start area to scope out where the potties are. Some events are great at placement and management of porta-potties, others … well not so much. So look around and enjoy the sights, the sounds and yes, the smells of race morning. There’s nothing quite like it!
11 – Have a Post-Race Meet-Up Plan- Talk to your friends and family before the race and have a meeting spot for when you finish. Many races will have a designated “family area” but be specific, there will be lots of people!
Above all HAVE FUN! You’ve worked hard to get where you are so take it all in – enjoy every minute of it! RUN WITH JOY!