Going for a race can be both exciting and jittery. Follow these tips to ensure nerves don’t get in the way of your run.
Your big race day is almost here and it’s normal to feel like a bundle of nerves. Other than all the training that will lead up to the big moment, there are various things you can do on the day itself that will give you a performance boost. These tips will help you race stress-free so that you can strive for better timings.
1. Wear comfortable clothing
Before you get too excited to wear your new sports bra or tights, consider whether they are truly suitable for your run. It is best to stick to an attire you’ve worn before that would not give you any trouble. Wearing new sportswear may cause issues like chafing and abrasions. Go for lightweight, stretchable and moisture-wicking materials that will help you stay dry.
2. Eat your usual breakfast
Have what you usually eat for breakfast on race day. You don’t want to confuse your digestive system by introducing new foods. Try to include carbs and protein – essential to fuel you up for the race. Remember to eat at least two hours in advance to give your body ample time to digest. The last thing you need is bathroom trouble in the midst of your race.
3. Reach early
Be at your race venue at least an hour before it starts. No, we are not being kiasu. There are many things to take care of when you get there. If you are driving, looking for a parking spot can be time-consuming. It also takes time to orientate yourself at the race venue, and not to mention, taking care of your bathroom needs and warm-ups. Getting there early will give you sufficient time to settle all the pre-race miscellaneous matters without the anxiety of running late.
4. Empty your bladder (and bowels)
Don’t turn your back when nature calls just because the queue is too long. It is normal to see long lines forming at the toilets but standing in line beats having to relieve yourself in the middle of the race.
5. Secure your hair
We love our hair but they sure can be a pain when they get in the way of our runs. Ensure that your hair is tightly secured and kept away from your face. Having to stop to redo your hair in the middle of race is not only a waste of time, it will also break your momentum and affect your performance.
6. Warm up
With so many things going on, it is easy to neglect your warm-up. Prep your mind and body about 20 minutes before the race with an easy 10-minute jog. Remember to stretch out any tight muscles afterwards.
7. Psych yourself up
Going for a race can be daunting and it may be tempting to give up when the going gets tough. That’s why it is important to have a mantra like “Run hard, don’t quit,” to psych yourself up before and during race. Constantly remind yourself why you started and push yourself to the finish line.
8. Stay in line
You don’t have to hustle and jostle your way to the front of the line. Be mentally prepared for a crowded situation – trying to get in a better position may cause you to fall and get injured before the race even starts. The middle or the back of the pack is a good place to start for beginners. You will be running with people around your pace and have people ahead of you to catch up with if you decide to speed up.
9. Pace yourself
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of people around you at the race. It may be pressurising when you fall behind the pack or see people overtaking you. The key is to focus on yourself and run at a pace you are comfortable at. Constantly remind yourself of the pace you should be going at or you will lose yourself trying to keep up with more seasoned runners. You can try chanting “right, left, right, left” to keep track of your pace and focus better on yourself.
Bonus tip: Smile when you see photographers
You’re going to want some glamorous shots for the gram. Flash a smile or leap for joy when you see photographers snapping away. After all, every race is a milestone worth commemorating.