Four Race-Day Tips for Runners

Four Race-Day Tips for Runners

You’ve logged the miles, put in the time, and possibly even purchased new training gear for the big event: race day. Don’t let pre-run jitters ruin all your hard work.

Leann Briggs, fitness specialist and personal trainer at the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion, discusses ways to relieve anxiety and other tips for conquering your first running race.

Tip #1: Eat the Right Food at the Right Time

Whether you’ve signed up for a 5K or a half-marathon, fueling yourself appropriately the morning of a race will help keep you energized. “The morning of a race you should eat one to two hours before the start,” Leann says. “Make sure to stick with something that you know is easily digestible. Everyone is different when it comes to pre-race meals.”

She suggests:

  • Eating foods that are low in fiber and easy to digest
  • Avoiding dairy products, because they are not easily digested and could cause a mid-run restroom trip

“It is a good idea to eat a few 'practice breakfasts' before a race so you know how your body will react to it,” Leann points out.

Tip #2: Wear the Right Outfit

When it comes to running outside, you want to be slightly chilly before the start of the race. “Remember, you will be moving, so your body will heat up fast as you start to move,” Leann points out. “Dress in layers so that if you do become overheated, you can remove a layer, if needed.” 

She also says to stay away from cotton material when choosing a race-day outfit, because cotton holds moisture, which can weigh you down and make you chilly in colder temperatures – especially if it rains. Instead, she recommends wearing clothes made of a moisture-wicking fabric.

Tip #3: Avoid Chafing

“It is a good idea to invest in an anti-chafing product like BodyGlide,” Leann explains. “You want to use this anywhere that skin rubs on skin or on the seams of clothing.”

She also suggests doing a “test run” in your race-day outfit to determine if it is comfortable enough to wear.

Tip# 4: Beat Race-Day Jitters

Experiencing anxiety the day of the race is common for first-timers and veterans alike. Leann says it may be helpful to mentally go through your pre-race routine a few days in advance. “Paint a mental picture. Knowing what to expect can help calm your nerves.”

What's her biggest rule? “Don’t try anything new that you haven’t tried before race day!”

Watch video from the 2012 Heart Mini Marathon:

Tags Wellness and Fitness

Last Updated: March 08, 2013