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?