8 Essential Race Day Prep Tips for the Beginner Runner

It’s race day and there are the same butterflies floating around in your tummy. Race day jitters are common for a lot of runners whether it’s your first race or twentieth race. There’s something about pulling into the race location and realizing in a few minutes your feet will be hitting the course. However, nothing dampens the excitement like forgetting something on race day. So, here are eight tips I have learned during my time running that help me prep.

1. Begin to prep the night before & double check before you leave for your race. This is a great habit to get into in general - so if in the morning you accidently forgot your inhaler or socks, just add it to the pile you already prepared.

2. Bring an extra pair of clothes & baby wipes. Probably the most underrated race prep, but 100% worth it. There’s nothing better than finishing a race and being able to put on a dry clean outfit and wiping your body down with wipes. Sometimes races are hours away from home and driving back in sweaty, stinky clothes is not fun.

3. Eat and hydrate. Don’t forget these two very important steps, even if your tummy isn’t feeling that great before the race, it will thank you after. Before most races I’ll munch on Cheerios and drink a bottle of water or Gatorade since it’s easy on the stomach, but filling.

4. Take a pain reliever an hour before the race. My body never fails to cramp around mile two of my race. Taking a pain reliever before the race has helped so much during race pain and even after race pain. If you take one, just remember to eat with it.

5. Go into the race with a goal in mind. Not every race is about PRing, sometimes a race is just for the fun. This helps you achieve what you want that day and be proud of your accomplishment no matter what happens. You made it out today and that’s awesome!

6. Layer, layer, layer. It’s never fun getting to a race and it’s 10 degrees hotter or colder than home. Especially during Michigan spring and summer when the temp varies so much during the day. Be sure to wear multiple layers so you can shed some off or add some on before you hit the starting line.

7. Go to the bathroom! This sounds like a no brainer, but seriously, even if you don’t need to go at least try. It’s awful being in the middle of a race and realizing you need to go. It might help out your time because you may run faster, but it’s not as exiting speeding through the finish line just to immediately hit the bathroom.

8. Bring the essentials during the race. When I first started running, I would get embarrassed running with my inhaler or bringing water with me. Eventually, I realized it didn’t hurt anyone but myself by not bringing these items. If you feel you need something, wear a belt and take it along. In the long run, your body will thank you and it takes a lot of worry off your mind so you can focus on the race.


Written by Emily Rymarczyk, 2017 Fitness Ambassador