Getting Ready for Race Day
Terra Blatnik, MD
Kelley DeGreeff, ATC
Jeffrey Nepple, MD
St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University
Young Athlete Center
Whether it is your very first race or your 50th, a 5K or a marathon, there are some common things runners can do in preparation for the big day!
Below are some tips that might help in the week leading up to the starting line:
- Begin to decrease mileage—over the final week of preparation it is important not to burn yourself out with running too much. It is great to slowly increase your mileage by 10% per week up until the final week. During the final week, it is good to take shorter runs, rest two days before, and just do just a light jog the day before the race.
- Check out the route—if there is time available, it is good to drive, walk, or jog the course for the upcoming race. This takes out the surprise of a big hill near the end that you might not have been expecting.
- No new gear!—It is tempting to go out and buy a nice brand new pair of shoes for your race, but this is a bad idea! They may cause blisters or be too stiff and this can lead to a miserable run. It is best to use tried and true gear that you are used to training in.
- Create a playlist—if you are running with music, it can be helpful to get a great playlist together so that you don’t have to mess around with it during the run.
- Get lots of sleep—Jitters on the night before the race can often hinder sleep. It is good to try and get at least 8 hours of sleep two nights before the race and then do the best you can on the night before.
- Carb loading?—Everyone always thinks that eating a big plate of spaghetti is the way to go the night before a race. Eating a large carb heavy meal may cause stomach pain/upset. It is better to eat carbs in small increments on the day before the race.
- Hydrate—Hydration will play more of a roll the day of the race but it is still important to drink. Drink when you are thirsty and aim to get about 4-8 oz per hour.
- Don’t stress!—Especially if it is your first race…no matter what, you will have a good time. There are people of all ages and abilities at most races. It is fun to have people cheer you on no matter first or last place. You may just find that you love it so much you will do it again and again and again!
"It's not how far you go, but what happens along the way. Even though you want to give up, you must find the will to finish the race." – Selena
Tap into your inner sole, and prepare yourself for another successful day! We know you’ve got this, girls!
St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Young Athlete Center are honored to support the transformative work of Girls on the Run on and off the track! For more information on injury prevention in youth sports visit our website at www.stlyac.wustl.edu or follow us on twitter at #stlyac