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Race day tips

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

It’s race eve for me today, and as I’m thinking about all the things I need to get ready for tomorrow, I’ve made a list of the most important things to prepare for on race day.

Have a plan to get to the start: Check for roadworks and trackworks when you planning your route to the start of the race. Your morning won’t be off to a good start if you arrive at the station and find out that the trains are not running. A quick few minutes of research can save you time on the morning of your race.

Have a plan to get home: Sometimes getting home from an event can be as big of an adventure as the event itself, especially if it’s a long way from home. After the race, when the post-race high starts to fade, you might find yourself feeling tired. Working out how to get home can be a bit of a chore if you don’t have a plan. Figuring it out in advance is always a good idea.

Have your bag already packed: The last thing you want to do on race morning is be scrambling around, trying to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. If you pack your bag the night before, you will have time to check everything is ready to go.

Stick to your food routine: If you usually have breakfast before you race or train, then give yourself time to stick to your normal routine on race day. And whatever you do, don’t pick race morning as a time to try a new breakfast regime.

Give yourself plenty of time: There could be unexpected things that arise on your way to the race – traffic, delayed trains, buses that don’t show up. Give yourself more time than you need to get to the start so you don’t add any extra stress to your morning.

Be across all the important race details: Make sure you know where you will leave your bag, where the toilets are, where you start group is, where you will meet your friends (before and after the race). A few years ago, I saw some people who missed the bag drop at city2surf start the run carrying their bags in their hands. Definitely the kind of situation you want to avoid!

Be ready for the weather: This sounds obvious, but sometimes it can be deceiving. It’s always worth having sunscreen and maybe hat (if you can run with one), even if it’s not summer. If you are out there for awhile and there are no clouds around, it could come in handy. In the same way that it’s always worth bringing a jumper, even just a light one in warmer weather, as you might cool down after the buzz from the day starts to settle.

Have a bathroom plan: Race morning is almost guaranteed to come with two things – nerves and bathroom lines. If you can, plan to go before you arrive in the race area. If you think you will want to go again, give yourself enough time to navigate the queues. Or if worst comes to worst, there is always the bushes (I used them before the Berlin marathon! Guys definitely have it easier in that area). Lastly, if you can plan your meal the night before to assist with the race day morning bathroom process, that’s also a good idea. Over share alert – for us, pizza does the trick!

For my tips on dealing with nerves before a race, click here.

Pre-race “trying not to be nervous” face

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