friday five: race day

Since it’s Friday, we are linking up for the Friday Five, with three awesome DC area bloggers: Mary at Mar On the Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?! and Courtney from Eat Pray Run, DC.  Feel free to join the fun with your own Friday Five post and be sure to visit and comment on the other blogs on the linkup!


Today, we are talking about Race Day.

Ahhh. Race Day. For me, one of the most fun and most anxiety-inducing days I know. I would consider myself a pretty seasoned racer by this point, so I’m going to share my five tips for a smooth and stress-free race day.

1. Prep the night before.

Yes, a flat runner is adorable for social media, but it also serves another purpose: ensuring that everything is ready to go early in the morning.

I lay out my outfit, preach my bib, and pack my bag. I make sure to have my arm pocket, iPod, ID and some cash, as well as any directions or information I need for the event. The more prepared I am, the easier it is to get out the door and be on my way.

2. Arrive early.

Your mileage may vary, but I like to be at a race 45 minutes to an hour before the start time. This give me ample opportunity to find parking, make use of the restroom, walk off some of my nerves, meet up with my friends, use the restroom, take some pictures, find the start line, and use the restroom.

I tend to settle down when I can immerse myself in the crowd, so it’s a great calming technique for me.

3. Set goals.

I always try to keep three goals in mind when I race. The first is my “reach goal” – the goal for which I aim if I am feeling great and all the stars align. The second is the goal I’ve trained for. Generally, this second goal is just to PR the race. My third goal is a variation of do my best. If I can’t PR for whatever reason, then I need to focus on something else – my breathing, my form, my posture. Something where I can walk away from the finish line feeling like I’ve accomplished something positive. Every race is a learning experience in some way, and my goal is to always leave an event with new knowledge about myself and my running.

Although a solid PR is always nice.

4. Run smart.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the adrenaline rush at the start line, but unless you’ve trained at an all-out sprint, the wiser decision is to hold yourself back and race how you’ve trained.

It’s the difference between this face

and this face.

5. Trust your training and be at peace.

I think the best piece of advice I’ve ever received in three years of running is “Be at peace with how you did at that race, at that time, on that day, in those conditions.” I have had some disappointing races. Sometimes it was my fault due to under training or running injured, and sometimes it was just a combination of bad circumstances that led to a substandard day on the course.

While there are races where I wish things had gone better, I’ve taken those words to heart and focused on the positives of those days, rather than getting down on myself.

What are five tips you keep in mind for race day?

What’s the best piece of running advice you’ve ever received?

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16 Responses to friday five: race day

  1. Leana says:

    All really great tips! I really love your last one about being at peace with your race. Sometimes we take a chance and it doesn’t pay off. Don’t be disappointed that you didn’t reach your goal. You tried…then take what you’ve learned and apply it to the next race!

    Have a great weekend!
    Leana recently posted…Five Tips for Your First TriathlonMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I’ll be honest. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself over my marathon performance. I trained so much better than how it ended up. However. When you think about the fact that my time of the month showed up about 30 minutes before I had to be in my corral, out of nowhere, it rained three times, I got about 45 minutes of sleep the night before and I had some stomach issues, I really have to cut myself some slack. I gutted out those miles instead of rolling over and giving up, and I need to give myself credit for that.

  2. I always lay my outfit out the night before to make sure I have everything ready. Arriving early is great so you don’t feel rushed. But at the same time I hate getting there super early to have more time to just wait around in your corral. recently posted…5 Things about RnR NashvilleMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I hate it when I have to wait in the actual corral, but if I can wander around and just hang out, I’m fine with being there early. I’d rather be there than rushing to get to the start line, and possibly missing it.

  3. Trust the training. Best advice ever.
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…#RunThisYear 2015 April summaryMy Profile

  4. Lindsey says:

    I always get to races super early, too! It feels good when the first time you get to a porta potty there are no lines haha! And the cupcake run!? Sign me up!
    Lindsey recently posted…Friday 5: Things I’m LovingMy Profile

  5. All these tips are great!

    It took a while for me to learn to keep a more even pace through out instead of, like you said, getting all caught up and going out too fast. That is probably the best advice I’ve gotten.
    All these tips are great!

    It took a while for me to learn to keep a more even pace through out instead of, like you said, getting all caught up and going out too fast. That is probably the best advice I’ve gotten.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

    Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

  6. jan says:

    The best advice I’ve ever received for racing is “just run”. I was so busy trying to breathe a certain way that it was actually distracting me and not helping. My husband said, “Just run!” I also think really good advice is to run YOUR pace and not race other people. Someone in my running group is always trying to beat specific people, and she gets upset when she doesn’t. You can’t do that…other people’s times are so varied, as are yours, probably. I just run for time!
    jan recently posted…6 Weeks of LeTotes {a review}My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      That’s about as simple and practical as it gets!

      Everyone has to run his or her own race. It’s hard, because some people get crazy competitive but that doesn’t do anything productive.

  7. Arriving early is probably one of the best pieces of advice! Once Bill and I showed up for a marathon just about a minute before the gun went off. It took many miles for us to relax and enjoy the race.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…Let’s Meet For CoffeeMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      GAH!!!! NO!!! I have a recurring nightmare about oversleeping for a race and having to start as they are tearing down the start line. It’s probably why I never sleep on race night LOL!

  8. Best piece of advice – start of slow. don’t get too excited – slow!
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…A Big Race AnnouncementMy Profile

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