You’ve signed up for your race and are pumped for all of those high-fives from the crowd cheering you on and wearing your finishers medal to your epic ‘yay me’ brunch. Now the important step, preparing for race day.
Whether you’re a seasoned casual runner or are using this as motivation to start your running journey, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the event and miss some essentials to ensure that you have a smooth (and fun!) race day. It’s actually pretty simple to prep like a pro for your race day, you just need to follow some crucial steps.
We caught up with Ben Lucas, owner of Flow Athletic and experienced marathon runner to find out his race day checklist and advice to make sure you have an amazing run (and prep!).
Give yourself enough time to train and prepare your body
It is way too often that people become excited and begin too fast with too much mileage. This often leads to a burnout, injury or lack of motivation. You need be patient with your training to adequately prepare your body to function to the best of its ability. This means following a program that is best suited for your personal goals and achievements.
I would recommend starting to train up to 12 weeks in advance to ensure you are not only physically but mentally prepared.
Plan backwards from your race date to ensure that you have plenty of time to train, recover and taper in the lead up to your event. There are running plans available online (and more information here on MNB!) but for a personalised plan to cater for you specifically, we recommend talking to a run coach/trainer.
You have enrolled and done all the hard work leading up to the race. Make sure you don’t leave the finer details to the very last minute because this will cause unnecessary stress.
Research and find out what time the race commences and how long before you need to arrive. See what you need to do for registration and allocate enough time to do so. Also, take a close look at the map and check where the water refill stations and bathrooms are situated.
Also factor in travelling to the event and any parking or public transport details you need (include a plan b… just in case!).
This will make your run so much smoother.
If you know there are points where you might need a little bit of extra motivation, see if one of your friends or family can find a spot at that distance to cheer you on! Seeing your crew out there supporting you will give you that little extra boost!
When you start physically training for your race, it is important to start eating a healthy and balanced diet. You need to fuel your body with nutrients that will optimise peak performance.
Make sure to add a complex carbohydrate to every meal as they keep you fuller for longer and give a sustained release of energy. Food includes wholemeal pasta or bread, sweet potato, brown rice, banana and oats.
Lastly, avoid hard digestible foods or anything different from your regular diet the night before and day of race.
Fuel up for your practice runs the same as you plan to for your race. This is a great way to test what works best for you to give you enough energy without weighing you down (or making you feel queasy!). You can also test the optimum times to eat before the race and any gels, blocks or snacks that you need during your run. When you find your winning formula – DON’T change it the day of the race! Make sure you take everything you need with you so you don’t have to rely on what’s available or nearby.
The same goes for your shoes and running gear. Do some practice runs in everything you’re going to wear on the day to wear them in and make sure that it is going to be comfortable and supportive for your whole race. (You can shop your perfect run outfit here)
Take care of yourself
You have now trained super hard and put in a great deal of effort. In the last week or so, take extra care of yourself to avoid illness.
Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather and rug up during and after running in the cold to avoid getting sick.
Don’t over train the week before so you are not tired and fatigued at the start line, you want to be feeling pumped and energetic!
Be kind and listen to your body.
Don’t be tempted to clock up extra mileage in the lead up to the race. Stick to your plan – and make sure your plan includes tapering runs. Eat well, rest up and take the time to stretch, roller and take care of your body so it’s in tip top shape for the big day!
Ready, Set… Prep!
What’s your top tip to prepare for race day?
MORE RUN GIRL RUN!
Ben is the owner and co- founder of Flow Athletic, an incredibly successful yoga and fitness studio based in Paddington. It is now known worldwide and they have a lot of internationals coming in to try out their classes. He was also named one of the 2017 ‘Men of Influence’ by Men’s Style magazine.
Prior to getting into the fitness industry, Ben was a professional NRL player for the Cronulla Sharks and a number of other teams. After finishing his stint with the NRL, he went on to own three very successful personal training studios and during that time he also turned to Ultra Endurance running.
In the space of 5 years, he ran 35 marathons and 5 ultra marathons all over the world. Due to his interest in running, he then went on to train up 101 non- runners to run and complete their first marathon! A challenge he said he probably won’t take on again, however as a result Sofa2Surf was born.