Running a Race – Do’s and Don’ts

The Gingersneeze Run Club is gearing up for their first group race. Four months ago on April 1st the Run Club started hitting the pavement running simple 2:1s and now they are all gearing up for their first ever 10k race.

dontAs the running group is getting ready for their first 10k I wrote them up a little newsletter on tips for running your first race. After typing it up I figured it would be a great thing to share with all of you because maybe some of you are gearing up for your first race. So here they are:


dont1. Don’t change your routine. Stick with what you have done during your training. Don’t test out new foods and fuel packs the day of the race, testing is for training not for race day. You never know how your body is going to react to something so stick to what you know.

2. Don’t wear new gear race day. It is a common mistake ALL runners make. We all want to go out and buy ourselves something nice new and sporty for our big race but this isn’t the best idea. Like with food on race day you don’t want to test out a new pair of shoes or sports bra and get jammed with awful blisters and chafing. If you do need new shoes be sure to purchase them at least two weeks before the race, and any new clothing should at the very least be washed to soften the fabric.

3. Don’t carbo load. Unless you are heading out to run a 1/2 , full or ultra marathon carbo loading is not necessary. The night before prepare yourself a nice meal of something you know sits well in your stomach, that dish could be a plate of spaghetti, but it could also be a quinoa salad. Just make sure it is something you are familiar with, and don’t get stuck on the idea that you need to fill up on carbs the night before.

road-runner34. Don’t be a Road Runner. With all the excitement and cheering going on you may have the urge to take off as fast as you can. Do everything you can to resist this urge. You have been training; you have an idea of what your pace is, plan to stick to it.

5. Check the weather. It is important to check the weather before the race, heck even before leaving the house for the race. You don’t want to be over dressed and fussing over extra layers on race day. Look at the weather and pick an outfit that will best fit the day.

6. Don’t stop moving. Once you cross that finish line you might really want to sit down and take a break do your best to resist this urge. It is important for you to keep moving, active recovery is the best way to go. While doing high intensity exercise blood rushes to your larger muscles (your legs) if you just STOP after a race you increase your chances of feeling dizzy, nauseous and all around weird. Keep walking around for 5-10minutes after your race to cool down, and then stretch it out.


1. TRAIN! Getting ready for a race is integral to avoiding injury and being able to feel confident and comfortable when lacing up on race day. You have been training, you have tried various different lengths and you now have the physical stamina to start and end your race strong. So feel confident in knowing that you already take part in probably the most important race day prep.

2. Review your route. Look at the maps provided by the event organizers so you have an idea of what your race route is going to look like. If you are able to run the route do so, if not find terrain that is similar to train on. Knowing your route gives you the ability to plan for what you might encounter and will help to boost your confidence race day.

3. Do your last long run AT LEAST 1 week prior to the race. You want your body and legs to be in optimal condition for race day. You don’t want to burn your system out by over training the week before your race. Be sure to respect of the tapper by being a bit more lenient on your body.

4. Lay it out. Lay your race day equipment out the night before. Take your shorts/pants, top, watch, hat, shoes, race bib, fuel belt or anything else you may need on race day and lay it out the night before. Especially if your race is in the morning you don’t want to be panicking because you can’t find your favourite running socks or the pair of shorts you really wanted to wear. Eliminate some stress by laying out your race day gear the night before. Not only will this eliminate stress it will also get you pumped your race.
Race Collage5. Plan to get there early. All in the name of reducing stress plan to arrive early. The last thing you want is to throw off your game because you can’t find a parking space, your running buddy, or worse the race has already started by the time you get to the starting line. Arrive early to avoid any unwanted stress, and heck most of them time they have some speakers or something to pump you up for the race, and a little extra motivation never hurt anyone.

6. Multiple Goals. Set two goals, this might sound ridiculous but there are so many factors that might contribute to a good or bad race, pre-race food, weather, hydration, injuries…etc. It is good to have two goals one ideal and one backup. This way you always have something to aim for during your race no matter what is thrown at you.

7. Bring some Tissue. This one might sound ridiculous, but after standing in a port-a-potty line up for 20 minutes just to find out that there is no toilet paper can be a huge disappointment. So be prepared bring some tissue paper.

8. Have a buddy. Having a running partner can help to keep you motivated and moving when you hit a wall during your race. Do your best to be encouraging of each other and share a high five or pat on the back with your partner if either side is looking a little sluggish. Keep spirits high and discuss a motivation plan before race day.

9. HAVE FUN!! Yes this is a race, yes I am sure you all want to do well and will be pushing yourselves a bit harder than during a regular training run, however the goal of the race is to have fun. Keep calm, remember to breath, and remember to smile. Enjoy the energy and positivity radiating from the crowd and have fun with it.

I know race season for the summer months is almost over, but incase any of your out there are planning your first race I hope these tips help you find something that works to keep you excited and keep the stress at bay.

Happy Wednesday!


5 thoughts on “Running a Race – Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway,
    just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  2. Pingback: 2013 Reflections | gingersneezes

  3. Love this! I can’t agree more about not changing anything for race day. Another thing I might add is – DO taper your miles the week before the race…it’s super hard to run less than you want to for a few days but you’ll feel so fresh and raring to go when the race comes! Have an amazing race! 🙂

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