July 15, 2024

Race Day Success for Runners By Nicole Bryan

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Keys to Race Day Success for Runners By Nicole Bryan

Nothing new on race day. If you haven’t trained with it, don’t use it on race day. And yes, this also applies to the race event shirt. Nothing new refers to foods, hydration schedule, clothing and technique. That’s what your training is for, to practice your race day ideas. By the time race day rolls around, you should have a solid tried and true clothing choice, pre, during and post-calorie choice, hydration specifics (how, what and when details.) Take notes during your training to keep track of what works for you and what doesn’t. No guess-work on race day.

Don’t go out too fast. The adrenaline at the start of a race is powerful. When the gun goes off it seems all athletes bolt out of the corrals leaving their timing goals along the way side, then feeling drained a few miles in. However, sticking to your trained race pace is what will serve you best. So while letting other runners pass you left and right is a challenge for the ego, doing so means you’ll have energy at the end of the race to finish strongly and maybe even ahead of pace. Shooting for a negative-split is always an effective motivation tool to stick to pace in the early miles.

Don’t miss hydration. Water stations are often packed with runners darting here and dashing there. Sometimes we feel great and are spot on our pace, leaving us with the false sense that “missing this one hydration stop won’t make a difference.” But in reality, it will! Racing is a cumulative event, which means early and often hydration is key in longer events. So, stick to your hydration schedule even if it means a slight delay or jockey of position to make it happen. Memorize water station locations along the course and plan ahead by changing your position about 100 yards before to easily allow access to support offered.

Immediate attention. Things happen during a race, especially long distance runs. An athlete never knows what the day will bring, so becoming an artist at being resourceful immediately is essential. For example, if you’re shoe doesn’t feel right, don’t run the next 3 miles trying to work through it. Stop immediately and fix it. Otherwise you’re risking compounding the situation which will lead to further discomfort and interrupting your race, and maybe even injury.

Conserve your energy. Bottom line is, technique counts. Being mindful of form during the race is just as important as during your training miles. Paying attention to how your body is working will insure your muscles are working at full-energy. When you begin to fatigue, do your posture check and your body scan. Reset your posture, adjust your form, go back to basics and then power on efficiently.

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