The best advice I can offer you for your upcoming race is to stick with what you know and control what you can.
- Check the weather report. But remember, this is Oklahoma, so expect the unexpected.
- Lay out your race outfit and accessories entirely the night before and double check that you have everything you need. Never ever wear anything new on race day. New shoes will undoubtedly find a place to rub you raw, be too tight or too big, and turn your feet into a blistered mess. New clothing could have a seam in a delicate place, rubbing your skin so raw that when you take a shower, it will sting like the dickens. Pick a race outfit that you know won’t rub you in the wrong places and will fit well in case of a windy course, avoiding the possibility of added resistance.
- Pin your bib on your front. I recommend the front of your pants/shorts/skirt. That way, if you take your jacket off, your bib is still visible.
- I recommend slathering Vaseline, Aquaphor, Body Glide, or other anti-friction lubricant on your feet prior to putting on your socks to help prevent blisters, as well as on any other problem areas where you tend to chafe.
- Arrive to the race early.
- Eat only what you know will not cause gastrointestinal distress.
- Hydrate all week, but don’t overdo it; drinking 4-8 oz. of water each hour works well.
- Get plenty of rest all week; aim for 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Minimize the stress in your life; no negativity this week!! The mind and body are connected and are operating at all times, so your mental health can have a serious impact on your physical state.
- Stay away from sick people!
- Run the tangents better. You can run your fastest race ever, but still end up with a slower time. How is that possible? Running even just .1 mile extra could cost you 30-plus seconds extra on your official time. The better you run the tangents, the less mileage you will run and, therefore, the less time you will be running. Aim to cut the corners as closely as possible while looking for the shortest route in between the curves.
- Perfect your pacing. You can sabotage all of your hard work by starting too fast on race day. You trained for a certain pace; trust it. The pace will feel easy when you start. Don’t give in. Trust your training, stick to your goal pace and save energy for the last portion of the race.
- The mental game. A race can hurt — there’s no way around that — and you’ll find that your mind will want to quit long before your body does. As the race progresses, your lungs will be burning and lactic acid will be telling your legs to slow down. Thoughts of quitting or easing up the pace start to take over. Prepare yourself to quiet the negative thoughts when they begin to creep in during the last half of the race. Decide on a Mantra to propel you when the race becomes difficult (repeat to yourself, “I Can Do This!”)
While gearing up for your race, trust your training. Focus on what you can do, what you have accomplished, and the joy of running. Be proud of yourself. It’s always okay to embrace where you are today. This is YOUR RACE, YOUR PACE! You are only competing against yourself – the endurance athlete you are now vs. the person you were when you started.
If you choose to listen to music during the race as a form of distraction or a tool to keep cadence, keep the volume low and only wear one earbud. That way, you can always hear those around you.
I sincerely appreciate your participation in our program! I have really enjoyed getting to know you.
Your health, time, and trust are priceless. I wholeheartedly hope that you grew and found something to take away from this experience. Maybe even something you didn’t expect – a lesson, knowledge, physical or mental strength, or more. You’re why I have this program. While runners may technically run alone, each of you adds to the strength of our program. Together we are more!