Tips to Make the Most of Your Race Day Experience

Are those race day jitters quickly approaching? Where did the time go? You had over 3+ months of training and now all your training is put to the test in just a few weeks.

Taper season has started & you are questioning whether you are ready or not.

It's normal to second guess your training, maybe I shouldn't have done this, maybe I should've done that! It's an endless cycle of our minds playing tricks on us - causing us to stress out, feel unprepared and think every possible thing will go wrong.
Maybe this is your first race or maybe you can't keep track what number race this is. But no matter what, like clockwork, those fears start to roll in just when race day is single digits away.

We put together a few tips & stories from others who have experienced race day jitters, what they have done to prepare, and a few stories on their first race. Read along as we hope these will help ease the stress of race day!

"I ran in cotton shorts!"

After college I was looking to get more active, and gradually started running on my own. After a few years, I decided to train for a marathon.

At the time, I was living in Milwaukee and I did not train well, wore shoes I bought at Kohls, layered cotton sports bras and cotton shorts on an 80-degree October day. It was a miserable experience and the chaffing had me walking like a duck for a week! But I still finished, and I knew that no matter what, my next race was going to be better.

It was.

The next year I trained with a group, bought real running shoes and better gear. I ran a whole hour and 20 minutes faster than my previous PR and I gained confidence in marathon running. - Elizabeth Sanders, Gazelle Sports Activator Grand Rapids

Take Away: Make sure you have the proper gear and you have ran in it before race day!

Plan Ahead & Sleep!

Before any race preparation is key, especially in calming nerves.
The week leading up to the race I begin by meal planning foods that fuel me well, hydrating with water and electrolytes (I prefer Nuun), and making sure I am stocked up on my favorite nutrition for race day.
During this time I make my race day plan. I decide where I am going to park (taking into account road closures), what time to arrive, and when I am going to pick up my packet.
I also try to make sure I am getting plenty of sleep and making my bed time slightly earlier. The night before race day I tend to sleep less due to nerves and this helps.
The night before the race I lay out all my gear, getting flat Jessica ready. That means that I have my clothes out, bib pinned on, running belt out (I like the Nathan Flip Belt), nutrition packed, and any addition gear I may need ready to go.

Now all that is left to do is get up early, have a light breakfast, and roll! - Jessica Schweiger, Gazelle Sports Activator Birmingham

Take Away: Don't add in any extra stress! Prepare the week leading up to race day so all you have to worry about is getting to the starting line.

No Two Bodies are the Same

What works for someone else may not work for you -- and that is OK! There are many ideas and options out there so do not feel like if one way that someone suggested didn't work for you that there is no "hope" or a solution for you.

Some may prefer Balega socks over Smartwool. Or GU vs Honey Stinger Energy Chews.
Or, maybe you need to use Body Glide, or Sports Wax, and some may not use anything!

It all comes down to what you prefer.

Other things to note:
Plan Ahead: Lay your clothes out the night before, have your food ready, and get to the race early! You can always nap in your car if you are there too early. It is better then being too late!

Know the details of your race: What is the start time? Do you know the route? What is on the course (for both aid and potties)? This will help in your plan and with your anxiety on race day.

Chat it Up: If you are struggling on the course don't be afraid to talk to those around you. It will help get you out of your head and it passes the time.

Lastly: No matter what - have fun! You are lucky that you get to do this! There are many that WISH they could be in your shoes. So enjoy the sounds of the feet hitting the ground. Thank the volunteers for being out there, and have fun. It will be over.... soon :)

Take Away: Do what is best for YOU. This is your race, and your race only.

Any other tips? Drop a comment below. We would love to hear! Don't forget to tag us at #GazelleSports so we can cheer you on for race day!