What Runners Should Do During the Race?
Finally, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 2015 race day is here. Whether you've been training for a 10 miler or a short race, it's important to be mentally prepared and ready for action. Get there early and give yourself at least an hour to warm up. Eat no later than an hour before starting the race. Drink at least 16 ounces of water three hours before the start. Check out the weather forecast and dress smart. Find out where the start line is and cheat with team mates.
So, are you ready to get started? Here are a few tips to help you cross the finish line strong:
As soon as you arrive at the location, look for your team or explore the surroundings. Pay the registration fee and ask for additional information about the race. Pick up your number and race bib. Make sure your number is clearly visible. Secure your bib using safety pins on all four corners. Don't wear more clothing than you need. Choose clothes and shoes that you’ve been trained in. Do a few warm up exercises, check your backpack, and use the bathroom.
Running is mostly mental. Although you can't always control how you feel physically, you can control your mind. Remember that there's nothing more you can do but your best. You've trained hard and you deserve to be here. Anxiety is a normal feeling, so embrace it and move on. Talk with your family and friends, chat with other runners, and keep yourself busy. If you prefer to be alone, separate yourself from the crowds and take a few deep breaths.
Use guided imagery, stretching exercises, and positive self talk. These simple techniques will help you relax before the race. Assess your mental state every now and then during the event. Try to figure out how you're feeling. If possible, run the race with a friend. It's easier to run when there's someone to cheer you up and boost your motivation.
Runners should stay hydrated before, during, and after the race. After all, you don’t want to be thirsty while running. Water, electrolyte drinks, and energy drinks will keep you hydrated and help you perform at your best. Refill your water bottle at a hydration station if needed. For longer distances, have a hydration plan.
Decide whether you prefer to carry a water bottle or take drinks at water stations. Don’t buy the featured sports drinks in a marathon! These beverages may contain chemicals and artificial sweeteners that cause digestive issues. If you’ve never tried them before, stick to water.
If you're a beginner, avoid running fast at the beginning of the race. This can make you tired and drain your energy. Decide how you're going to run the race and come up with a plan. Those who are running long distances can mentally divide the course into small sections. For example, if you've joined a marathon, you'll run four times 10 kilometers. This approach makes the distance less daunting and helps you relax.
Keep Yourself Motivated
One of the best ways to stay motivated during a race is to set goals. Many runners set a goal for a perfect race and another as a backup. You can also set your time lower than normal so you can be happy afterwards, whatever the result. Don’t forget to bring your support team! It's much easier to push yourself and do your best if you know you'll see your loved ones at the finish line.
Take Care of Your Body
Races are fun and exciting, but they can also lead to injuries. Depending on the type of race, you're going to be running on asphalt, up and down hills. Make sure you tape your knees and ankles before the event. Avoid ankle and knee braces because they may cause friction.
Listen to your body and watch for signs of injury during the race. Take a walking break if needed. Feeling some discomfort is perfectly normal. However, you should stop running in case of sharp pain, breathing difficulties, fractures, open wounds, and major injuries. Know what you're capable of and don't underestimate the race and the physical toll it takes on your mind and body.
Increase your carb intake during the last three days before the race. You might gain a few pounds during this phase, but it's mostly water weight. Fuel up during the race too. If you're running long distances, have an energy bar containing carbs. This helps maintain blood sugar levels stable and fuels your muscles. You can also carry electrolyte capsules and drinks to prevent muscle cramps.