Spring race season is in full effect! Today alone I have friends running the Long Island Marathon, Broad Street 10 Miler, and Pittsburgh Marathon. It’s hard to avoid getting swept up in all the excitement of race day and the post-race parties! So since I am sure you’ve already been inspired to sign up for your next half marathon, here are a few rules for race day and how not to run a half marathon… or any race. *Disclaimer: I’ve broken all of my rules*
1. Nothing New on Race Day
In my opinion, this is the cardinal rule for runners. Your long runs have been weeks of practicing for the big day. What foods you’re going to have that morning, what socks you’ll wear, and what to drink the day before (more on this later). We can divide this into two main rules: No new foods & no new clothes. Let’s address the food; unless you have an iron stomach, sticking to what you know can save you from stomach issues popping up at mile 5. If a bagel with peanut butter is your go-to, you should probably stick with that. This also applies to dinner the night before a race because that new Thai restaurant will still be there for post-race celebrations. #DontRiskIt.
Second are your race day clothes (and everyone who is wearing their race t-shirt is breaking this rule). Something new could rub your skin the wrong way and the last thing you want is to be bleeding from a new sports bra when you’re hoping for a PR. I actually broke this rule last week… (but thankfully I don’t regret it) when I wore my new lululemon Fast & Free crops. This Nulux fabric is probably made of magic, but not only did they feel light and comfortable for all 13.1 miles, these pants have more pockets than you would need #Bonus.
2. Don’t Try to Run with a Hangover
This should be a given… but here’s a little story for you… Last year, Pam convinced me the day before to run the Women’s Half. However, when the Rangers are in the playoffs my priorities shift a little bit and perhaps the words “open bar” should not have been on my agenda. A good rule of thumb is to skip the drinks and opt for water; not just the day before a big race, but a few days leading up to it. Especially with spring races, the weather can get a little warmer than the ideal race temperature so it is key that you keep your body hydrated. You’ll feel much better on race day and your performance will reflect your good life choices.
3. Always Have a Race Plan B
“I’m going to go run” might be a bit vague in terms of your plan. Whether you are shooting for a PR or simply looking to complete your first big race, a game plan will help you get there. Last year for Brooklyn, I only had plan A which was to break 2 hours. Unfortunately when I saw that goal time slipping away, I didn’t have a plan B. So I mentally/physically dragged my body the last 3 miles of that race to cross the finish line. Think about your long training runs and your goals, look at the course map/ elevation chart, then decide on a race plan. And a back up plan. For the Women’s Half this year, I decided on my plan based off of my Brooklyn 2017 training so far. I set a goal time for running before needing to walk, then running from one water stop to the next. I also promised myself I would run up both Cat and Harlem Hills on the second lap. You want to create a race plan to help you finish and feel confident. Talk about your plan with your coach or running buddy ahead of time, too!
What are your rules for running a race? Do you adhere to them or regretfully break your own rules? Share with us in the comments below 🙂
Happy Sunday Runday!