1. The week before the Race:
During race week, your running mileage should decrease. During the week, include two to three short runs with a few, small pick-ups—short,quick distances that get your legs moving faster and prepare you for the faster tempo of the race—to keep your legs fresh. Two days out from the race, take a day off for total rest. The day before the race, do a short (20-minute) run with up to five pick-ups under 45 seconds to sharpen your legs.
2. Fuel up on Race Day
On race morning, be sure to eat the breakfast you’ve practiced in training. Aim to eat about 2 hours prior to the race. Keep it simple—a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit, a sports bar, bagel with peanut butter. Eat something high energy and easily digestible. Be sure to include hydration—water, sports drink if it’s warm outside to give you the electrolytes you need, and coffee if that’s part of your normal routine. Nothing new.
3. Prevent Race Day Jitters
Whether you are a veteran in running events or a newcomer, there is always a sense of excitement on the day of. There is a lot to be done on race morning ( parking, packet pick-up, waiting in line for the restroom, warming up) Arrive at least 1 hr prior to the start—knowing where you can park, what time packet pick-up closes (if you couldn’t do it the day before) and where to go for the starting line.
4. Warm Up
About 25 minutes prior to the race, get warmed up. Start with a 10 minute easy jog, then slowly build your pace for 5 minutes. Then, include up to five short pick-ups under 30 seconds at race pace. Gently stretch any tight muscles after your warm up.
The starting line can be crowded and nerve-wracking with so many people and different paces. Starting in the middle to back of the pack is safe for most beginners. You will start with those around your pack and you will have many more ahead of you to chase down.