7 Tips to Make Your Race Day Better

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In less than three weeks I will be celebrating my 4th anniversary of when I took on the challenge to become a runner. I actually began training eight weeks prior to this date, but I use my first 5K race I ever participated in as my running anniversary date. The reason, I never really considered myself a runner until I ran my first race. Looking back I know differently, but trust me, I can remember the day like it was yesterday.

During the past 48 months I have learned a few lessons about racing, having tackled every distance from the mile to the marathon. Below are some tips I have practiced along the way that may help make your race day a little less nerve wracking.

  1. It's OK to take it easy, activity-wise, a day or two before your race. Your goal is to toe the starting line with the freshest legs possible. The amount of taper will vary according to the distance you are running, but never underestimate the power of a good rest day before your race.
  2. Get plenty of sleep in the days leading up to your race. Do not worry if you do not sleep well the night before a race, however, make certain you get plenty of rest in the days leading up to that night. Many runners will suffer from insomnia the night before a race, but do not worry, adrenaline is amazing at helping us push past any race day fatigue.
  3. Stay off your feet the day before a long race. You want to arrive at your race with the freshest legs possible so make sure the day before your big event that you do as little walking as possible. This is primarily for those running longer distances, such as a half-marathon and marathon.
  4. Do not try any new foods or drinks the night before or the day of the race. Now is not the time to sample new dinner or breakfast foods. Trying something new before a race can lead to stomach issues which can be the difference between a good race and a not so good race.
  5. Do not wear any new running gear the day of the race. The rule in racing is not to do or try anything new on race day, this includes wearing new running shoes, new shorts, new shirts, even a new sports bra and socks.
  6. Do not try a new refueling source the day of the race or during the race itself. Many races, less than a 10K distance, may not offer refueling sources on the course, but if your race does, make sure you have practiced using it during your training. Trying something new, such a Gu or Cytomax, may lead to gastro-intestinal issues which can cause issues during the race itself.
  7. Arrive early so that you do not have to rush to get to the starting line. This is especially true for bigger races where parking can be a premium. Allow yourself a good hour to park, check in your gear if you need to, hit the porta-lets and do a nice warm-up.
These are just a few tips to consider before running your big event. But understand, as my former running coach once said, "You're only as good as you are on that particular day, at that particular time, on that particular course, under those particular circumstances" so don't beat yourself up too much if your race doesn't match up to those in the past. Each race brings its own set of challenges, but the most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy the experience.


As a runner or walker, do you have any other tips to share? What mistakes have you made in the past that you have learned from?

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Simple stuff we often overlook Report
WHITEANGEL4 11/24/2019
Great blog Report
The biggest problem for me has always been getting adequate sleep, especially the night before the race. Too much excitement in the bloodstream....perpetual problem! Report
Great article with great advice. Report
CKEYES1 10/8/2019
Sleep is always a problem Report
Great! Report
EMGERBER 8/30/2019
Great tips! Report
4DOGMOM1 6/28/2019
thanks Report
CHERYLHURT 4/28/2019
Thanks Report
PLATINUM755 12/8/2018
Excellent tips...Thanx! Report
thanks Report
thanks Report
Thanks for all of the great suggestions! Report
Great points to remember! Report
Probably good advice. Report
You go, girl! Report
Great article with great advice. Report
Thank you! Report
Thanks Report
Great information. Thanks. Report
Good tips, thanks. Report
great tips Report
great tips Report
Good tips! Report
That good-night's rest is super important. 8-)
great tips Report
Good advice Report
Good tips for first timer or a refresher Report
Brilliant! Report
Great Advice..................Thanks. Report
Thanks! Report
Some great guidance and suggestions to follow. Report
Some great suggestions. Report
Great advice Report
Arriving early makes a big difference. Report
My big mistake was..I had an injury stopped running but didnt replace it with another activity. Now Im having the hardest time coming back. Ive gain weight and lost my will. im devastated Report
Soak in the experience and enjoy the race! I ran my first eight k and 10k this year... Watching the elite athletes was a learning experience in itself! Report
Really good tips from everyone. I will be reading them again a week before my first ever 5K on May 1st. My sister and I have been training and practice run/walking the course. I'm very excited to say that I'm really loving running and the race will be a great finish for all my hard work. Report
Great tips! Be sure to cool your legs down after a hard run. Stand and run water from your garden hose or use some ice. Your muscles and joints will thank you and you will feel better the next day. Do not panic if you have a toenail or two that turn black. This is a common distance running occurrence. Report
Thanks for all the tips! I am running my first 10k in less than a month and need all the advice I can get! Report
Thanks for a great blog! Always good to listen to one who knows! Report
A lot of great tips. I have used many for 2 marathons and several half-marathons. I also carry 2 Advil or Tylenol which helps my leg endurance during marathons. I saw the medical tent giving them out around mile 10 and admit it helped me for the rest of the race. Now I always carry them even if I don't use it. Also, never pop blisters. Report
Thanks to Sp I used all these strategies before my 1st 5k today.
Thanks for sharing and being such a wonderful resource.
janisli Report
Cut your toenails 3 nights before the race! Report
Great Report
Great tips! I have my first 1/2 marathon in May, so I really appreciate any advice I can get. It's going to be hot, so I will be sure to dress apprropriatly, & in something I've worn before. Report
I enjoy wearing what I feel comfortable in and when I walk, remember to enjoy the walk, the scenery and the company, when I walk with others! Make time for time after the walk/run to share, converse and meet new people! Report
Nancy I'll make sure I don't wear a new sports bra for my half! LOL

Bill Report
LOL on the toilet paper. I'll remember that. Great blog! thanks Report