Monday, March 28, 2011
EricG's Running Tips #13 Plan Ahead
As my next race is just days away and I begin my pre-race routine for this weekend, here are the things that come to mind. I have been thinking about them all for months so I find it easier to actually put it all together now, when I need to.
How and when am I getting there? If possible I like to arrive no more than an hour before a race. It gives me plenty of time to get my gear set up where I want it and take care of any last minute items. Anything longer and I feel like I am just standing around waiting for no reason.
What is the course like? If it’s a new race I always study the course online to understand it. If I have been there before I will likely still refresh my memory. It's helpful to have an idea where substantial climbs are, where aid stations are located and how far apart they are.
Have a race plan. You should know how you plan to make it to the finish line. Things may change during the race that you can't control but if you go in without a strategy you are already out of control.
Always check the weather. Do it frequently for the week leading up to the race to make sure you are prepared mentally and strategically for any shift.
What is available at aid stations? I like to know if I can live with what they have or do I need to bring my own.
What will my nutrition plan be? Each time I run an ultra I realize more and more how important it is to have a nutrition plan. It is so much easier to be successful if I already know what I am going to have at specific points in the race. When I wing it I end up forgetting to take salt or keep up on my calories, or if I decide I need something I can't find what I need.
What am I going to wear? I have my favorite pair of shoes and socks. I always have multiple pairs of both at the ready before and during the race. The rest of my clothes will likely be determined by weather. I prepare for any possible changes but will check the night before and lay out what I am wearing then, while packing additional clothes for potential changes in weather.
Be sure to have whatever gear ready and charged if needed such as water bottles or hydration packs, head lamps, hats, sunglasses, anti-chaffing creams, nipple guards (I just like saying that), ipods, cell phones, gels, powders, salt etc...
This may seem small but If you have your bib the night before the race, put it on your shorts, shirt or wherever you like it. One less thing to do in the morning. Oh yeah, remember pins or buy a belt.
Be sure you know where your crew/friends/family will be and let them know approximately when you will arrive. Make sure they know what you will need so they are ready and organized when you get there. It's good for them to be prepared in advance too.
Be sure you have a ride home. If possible have clean dry cloths at the finish.
Most of all, plan on having a great time and enjoy the experience you have worked so hard for.
I am sure there is much more out there I am not thinking of right now so please share what you do to make sure you are ready come race day.