So You Want to Run: Race Day

I'm back today with my final post in the So You Want to Run series.  Find previous posts here: Part 1 (So You Want to Run), Part 2 (Favorite Gear), Part 3 (Exercise, Nutrition, and My Advice).

It's race day.  Maybe you're nervous, maybe you aren't.  Maybe you wake up with anticipation, maybe you don't.  Maybe you always do the same thing before a race, maybe you don't.  What does race day look like to you?

All the races I have run have been on Saturdays.  I usually follow the same routine, not for superstitious habits, but out of habit.  Most races I've run have started at either 8 or 9.  I like to get to the race about 30 minutes early to get my bib if I haven't already and to have time to stretch.

I'm nervous when I wake up on race days.  I want to constantly do better than I've done in previous races which can be a problem since you can't always get faster and faster.

On Friday night, I like to get out my race clothes, socks, shoes, watch, and my iPhone arm band.  I don't do anything differently than any other Friday night.  At some point the day before the race, I like to eat some pasta especially if I'm running a 10K.  I also drink lots of water.  

Before each race, I make a playlist.  I like to have good music to run to.  For my last race, I actually went through and made sure I had pump me up songs at different points when I know I start to think about the finish.  I haven't always listened to music in races, but I will from now on because it helps me greatly when I get to the psych myself out part (more on that later).  

I also always run in sunglasses.  

On race days, I like to wake up about 6:30 (later than I wake up on weekdays and not much earlier than weekends) and take a shower.  I put on my makeup, get dressed, and then I like to eat either a bowl of oatmeal or some blueberry muffins.  I always drink a big glass of water with my breakfast, too.

I love Oat Revolution and Fiber One blueberry muffins.

I like to stretch before I get to a race and then again when I get there.  I don't always do it, but it's good to jog some before the race starts.  I also always scan the crowd for people I know and try to find someone I can run near during the race.

I've mentioned before that I sometimes psych myself out during the race.  I'll run my first two miles below a seven minute pace and then think I have to slow down or get water or something.  It's not cool.  I used to stop to tie my shoes until I got called out on my little I'm-taking-a-breathing-break-that-I-don't-really-need habit.  Now, I try to keep myself focused.  I tell myself that this is no different than any of my other runs, keep my breathing steady, and pray that the sun stays like it is and a fast song comes on next!  I am improving on this issue.  I'm aware that I do it and I want to fix it.

In my last race, I tried to finish hard.  I'm not usually tired after a race which makes me know that I have steam left and could've gone faster.  I sprinted the last quarter mile and felt great!  There's a race this weekend I'm thinking about running and I'm going to give it my all the whole race.  No matter what, always remember to smile nearing the finish line because there are always pictures later!