I wanted to write a post about my tips for race day but then I figured you probably must have to get sick of me every now and then so I recruited some of my absolute favorite girls that I run with to give their tips for race day!
1. Kassi Harmon:
(Her marathon PR is 2:49, 1/2 marathon PR 1:15 and she has an incredible history with track and cross country at BYU… this girl is an expert! (The times I have gone running with her are on her easy days… aka my speed work days:))
*Never worry about not sleeping the night before a race. As long as you sleep well most nights, it won’t effect you in the race.
*Stick to the pace you have been training at. You will most likely feel great from tapering, but you will run faster if you start out slower and run negative splits, than to start out too fast and run out of gas.
*Wear clothes and shoes that you have trained in and are comfortable. Don’t try out new things the day of a race.
*In addition to the previous tip, eat foods before and during the race that you are use to and have trained with. Try to keep things as normal as possible.
*Have fun and trust your training. You have put in the work and there is nothing more you can do but your best. Enjoy it!
2. Rachelle’s tips for race day are:
“Be kind to yourself. You can’t always control the way you feel physically but you can always control your thoughts. Racing is mostly mental so believe in yourself, trust your training and remember that the hardest things you accomplish in life are always the most worth it. The harder you work to achieve an outcome the more satisfaction you gain from it regardless of the time on the clock.”
“Act like a horse, be dumb, just run. Don’t waste energy overanalyzing… don’t think, just run.”
She also advised me with this piece of info in case I ever train for a marathon again by pool running for 5 weeks—> “If you train in water make sure to let the race director know beforehand so they have time to turn the course into a stream.” HAHA I love her.
3. Josse’s tips for race day:
“Learn what works for you and stick with it. Practice what you are going to do and don’t do new things race morning. Don’t stress too much about the things you can’t control like the weather. Eat even if you don’t feel like it. Most importantly, have fun or it is not worth it.”
4. Rebecca’s words of wisdom (her husband on the bike and her daughter running next to her:):
“No matter the outcome of your race, put a smile on your face for the homestretch. It makes the finish a whole lot sweeter. Added bonus: your pictures turn out much better. (PS this takes practice! Practice smiling at the end of your hard workouts. Even raise your arms!)”
5. Candice!! Her race day tips:
“Have fun! It may still be hard and there will be moments when you want to quit or wonder why you are racing, but if you can’t look back and find the fun, then what’s the point? For me, all of the races that have been the most fun have ended up also being my best. And I’d rather have memories of having fun than memories I’d rather forget!”
6. Sara said:
“My biggest tip is to fuel yourself properly. If you are fueled properly before, during, and after then you can achieve your goals. Plus, you will avoid a lot of injuries and typical race day mishaps if you are fueling the right way. Figure out what works for you. Don’t just go off of how your friends fuel. I don’t go crazy with carb loading either. I would end up feeling heavy race day. My pre-race meal is two nights before, not the night before.
I always try to enjoy the experience and underestimate my time. This only works for me because I’m a really competitive person. I set it lower than normal so that I can always be happy afterwards! Weird but it is what works for me. Foam rolling, compression socks/sleeves and Doterra deep blue are my secret weapons. Eating clean is my biggest secret. I still love my sweets but they are usually homemade. I rarely reach for processed foods/treats.” In just two years she went from a 4:30 marathon to a 3:18 marathon time and one of the main things that she said made her faster—> the first time around she just ran but she got the faster times by including cross-training!
7. Heather’s tips:
“Fuel up! During the last three days before an endurance run such as a marathon, a runner’s carbohydrate intake should increase to 70-80% of his/her total daily caloric intake. Make sure you get complete carb storage, drink 4-8 glasses of water each day. You may gain a lb or 2 during this phase, but most of the extra weight is water and will actually help keep you well hydrated during the race. Plus, you’ll sweat out those extra lbs on the run. Practice eating before a race. This can be a tricky thing. Test different foods for your carb-loading phase well before race day. Pick one of your longest training runs and pretend it is ‘race day.’ Try a mini-carb-loading phase before this run. This will give you the opportunity to see how long different foods take to pass and which ones to avoid because they ‘hang around’ too long.
Get your zzz’s! Try to get 8 hours of sleep! Research shows that if you get 8-10 hours of sleep on a regular basis, then not sleeping the night before the race most likely won’t have any adverse effects on race day! I have found racing marathons and triathlons while having 3 little kids, I don’t always get the right amount of sleep that I should training 10-15 hours a week for endurance events. However, if I get the most rest 2 nights before the race, that usually seems to do the trick for me. I let my husband know he is ‘on duty’ all night and I get to sleep. It’s helped me a lot in my training!
Have a mantra. When ‘the wall’ hits you at your next race, having a mantra can help pull you through a tough stretch. Spend a little time before race day thinking of a few motivating mantras. Some good mantras include: What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger! I’ve got the eye of the tiger. Can’t stop, won’t stop! One step at a time. Not everyone can do this, but I can! Dig deep, breathe deep!
Enjoy the taper! Avoid replacing the runs with lots of cross-training. The taper is designed to allow your body to recuperate, rebuild and be fresh on race day. I just try to have fun with my family and kids and do things that I normally don’t have time for that won’t require me to be on my feet too much.”
8. And my California running buddy Pam said:
“Always mentally prepare yourself pre-race that you may have to stray from your ‘plan.’ Don’t underestimate the marathon & the physical toll it takes on your body and mind. Practice, practice, practice fueling during training. Be very realistic of your goals & know what you’re capable of. Trust in your training!!!!”
WHAT ARE YOUR RACE DAY TIPS!?!
What is your next race? What is your goal for the race?
Lessons that you learned during your last race?
How many miles are you planning on running this week!?
Karien @ Running the Race
Great post and great advice – thanks, Janae! (Especially love “act like a horse… just run”…!
Love the tips! I try to get good sleep two nights before, start fueling two days before and am finished with carbs by Friday lunch. Drink lots of water for days before, not just the day off or before. And pack flip flops for after the race- my all time fav tip!
The Hungry Runner Girl
SUCH good advice about the flip flops… I love that idea!
Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
This is so helpful! I love that you included tips from all different runners. I totally agree with Kassi to keep things as normal as possible. Race day is not the day to wear something new or eat something that you’ve never eaten before. I always try to drink lots of water starting the week or so before a race and I’m sure to get in plenty of carbs too.
Enjoy the race! We wouldn’t train unless we loved running to start with.
[email protected] 'n' Snuggles
My next race is tomorrow. Just a 5k but my son will be running the Kids 1K and he’s super psyched about it! I’m hoping to be under 31:25 and set a new PR for me.
The Hungry Runner Girl
GOOD LUCK TOMORROW!!! That is so fun that your son will be running too. You’ve got this!
Michele @ paleorunningmomma
Love these tips so much! I second the smiling one…it actually makes me think of the race differently (more positively) after the fact if I finished it with a smile, even when it’s completely forced. It’s like I tricked myself into believing the race was awesome even if I was thinking otherwise and dying. Running is so mental!
My biggest tip therefore is to learn to control your self talk before and during a race. The attitude that you can do it, or even a simple “just run don’t think keep going” or “it sucks now but there’s no way I’m quitting” can help bigtime!
Leah @ goodnightcheese
What great tips!
Kristina @ Fast and Foodiest
My number one tip is to understand the distance you are racing and know what will work best to achieve a goal! In long races there is time to make up for mistakes or miles where you are not concentrating- but with short races ANY time spent thinking about how much the race stinks is going to affect the outcome! … which leads me to my 5k strategy- run as fast as you can until you think you make puke and fall over- don’t think about anything other than moving forward as fast as possible… and then you get a PR :p (silly, but thinking of it this way really works for me!).
Also- mantras. For 5k- “This is only 20 minutes of my life. I can do anything for 20 minutes”. This also works really well for motivating yourself through ANY tough mile of any race distance!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Such a great tip Kristina about understanding the distance! So important when figuring out paces etc. I love your mantra! I’ll be using that for my next 5k!
Kristina @ Blog About Running
I love all the tips from your friends, but this one right at the beginning really resonated with me: “there is nothing more you can do but your best.” So true!
Even on race days when we feel we should have done better based on training runs, that was our best that day and we should feel proud. Plus, there will almost always be more races in the future that will allow us to strive for improvement!
My next race isn’t until October (my first marathon)!
Kaella On The Run
Wow awesome advice!!! I had a fun race this weekend and don’t have another until my half in September (although I’m trying to find at least one sooner!!)
I will bookmark this page and read it again before every race!
I’m planning to run 15-20 miles this week as I’m on Week 3 of my Half training plan :)
Runner Girl Eats
Eat what you always eat, wear what you always wear–race day is not a day for firsts! Biggest lesson that I learned from my last race is that I’m so much stronger than I give myself credit for. Don’t psych yourself out with doubt!
Becky @ Olives n Wine
I love all of these tips! Especially the don’t think, just run one… I always tend to over analyze my running rather than just letting go and letting my legs do the work!
Love these tips! I burned out on marathons a few years ago and have moved on to the Tough Mudder. My biggest tip for both types of races is to cross train. Bootcamp classes will help you build a lot of stamina and lean muscle mass.
Really great tips. Thanks ladies and Omgosh…they are so toned and lean!
I love the advice to practice smiling! I’ve had some pretty funny looking photos.
My next race is Pioneer Day, July 24th. I just found out I’m doing it so I’m off to register just in time to miss the price increase!
Megan @ The Skinny-Life
These are all great tips! The biggest thing I’ve learned is to always be proud of myself no matter how I perform at a race. I’m not sure if I will ever race again. My body’s just not wanting to recover from this foot injury.
I LOVE this post! Definitely some great tips. Of course, a lot I’ve heard before, but it’s nice to get that advice from truly accomplished runners–it applies to everyone, not just newbies! I like the advice about a mantra, that has definitely pushed me through some hard races/workouts. I like to remind myself that the mind gets tired before the body does…even if you THINK you can’t keep going, you can. You can always push a little farther.
I’m training for the Chicago Marathon and hoping to run a few shorter races before then!
Love these! I would add: know the course to my tips. It can be incredibly discouraging to train for a certain type of course (flat/hilly/windy, etc.) only to realize you have a completely different beast on your hands on race day.
I loved all of these!
Makes me excited and more confident for my half in August :)
The Hungry Runner Girl
You are going to rock your half in August! Please let me know how it goes!
Lindsay @ Lindsay's List
man! what inspirational women!!!!
This post is SO helpful, definitely going to bookmark it and look at it before my future races. I just did a race yesterday and mainly it helped me know what’s working that I need to do more of, like taking enough rest, eating a reasonable amount, training on lots of hills, etc. The one thing I do need though is a good mantra! I need to find one that really really works for me… still looking!
Here’s an idea for your next guest post. Have Candice write a post on how to look so great after running a race, dayum!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Kate @ The Endorphin Junkie
Thanks for this! I’m not currently training for anything, but I’m sure that will change! In my last race I realized that I need to just enjoy myself and not take the race too seriously. I run because it’s fun, and sometimes the idea of getting a specific time gets in the way of remembering why I run :)
Anna @ That DAMM Runner
My next race is in LONDON in a few weeks – a 10k. My goals are to ENJOY myself. I have no time goals, I just want to take in the sights. My parents live in London so they’ll be there to cheer me on! :)
Lately I’ve been learning that I need to a)train harder – train harder than the race sometimes. I have a tendency to treat all my “training” like Sunday jogs, then race day comes I can’t push it. And b) despite those things, I need to be in the moment and enjoy myself more.
Caroline @ Fighting For Wellness
I learned to practice speed walking a bit while training, so that if I have to do it on race day, my body is prepared for it!
Julie @ Coastal Runner Girl
Loved this post!!
My biggest tips are to practice eating your pre-race meal multiple times! For me, I have to eat something lighter (like a protein bar) 2-3 hours before the race. Also, have some positive mantras ready to mentally get you through the race… ‘No Regrets!’, ‘You’ve Got This’, etc. :)
meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
Such great tips. I also underestimate my time, it’s a mental thing lol. Eating clean does wonders as well. Even though I love my desserts, the majority of my diet is clean and carb focused which works for me. My next race may be this Friday morning. A quick 4 miler. I haven’t signed up yet as I am waiting to see the weather and decide if I feel like it but it is looking like I will be running it!
Thank you so much for this great post!
Kassi’s note about not worrying about sleeping the night before a race (as long as you sleep well other nights!) made me feel better. I never sleep well before a race! The night before my first half marathon I was up at 4am and sat there watching Scandal and making a great breakfast. I was so nervous about having bathroom problems during the race (TMI?) and I was also REALLY excited!
And Rachelle’s tips made me laugh out loud. I can tell I would like her even though I never met her :)
Sally @ sweat out the small stuff
Always have plan b and c goals!
Tuesday marks my first official return to running since May 10 due to tendonitis. I plan on using the long holiday weekend to build from 3 miles to 8 miles.
I am running the San Francisco marathon on 7/27 but have no idea how it will turn out considering I have just 4 weeks to train. I have been biking a lot to keep my endurance up.
The Hungry Runner Girl
I am so so happy that you are back to running on Tuesday!
The Silent Assassin
Your friends pretty much captured everything! Thanks for that.
My immediate race is the 4th of July 4 miler here in AZ. Next half is San Francisco, next full is Ventura.
You can’t have too much fun before the race, lol…
The last 2 weeks, I ran 50, 55 miles respectively. It’s taken a toll on my body, specifically my ankle (peroneal tendonitis). Switching training plans.
btw, I’ve been on other blogs and seen that pool running has taken off =). I am trying that plus G-training (gravity training)… I’ll let you know how THAT goes =).
Stay fierce and Stay blessed J!
Natalie @ Never Serious Blog
You’ve got some fast friends!
I think the best advice is just trust your training and give it your all! That really sums up everything. I slept in this morning because I was EXHAUSTED from this week, and I’ve got plans this evening, so I’m not going to get in a run today which automatically bumps my mileage down. But hopefully I’ll get in a few runs in this week, and I’ve got a thirteen mile training run planned for Saturday! So we shall see! I’m still trying to take it easy this summer, but be consistent. This heat is a BEATING.
For race day, I have to wear my favorite running clothes… if anything fits weird, all I’ll be able to think about is getting it off!
Today starts my training for my first marathon! I’m coming off a long stretch of no running because of surgery so the next few weeks will be building my running base back up. My last two halfs were disappointing because my brain was fogged with some health concerns so I’m way excited to have that over with so I can train fog-free!
Can I ask what plan u are using and when is your marathon? Doing my first in Nov. although I’ve been logging miles I haven’t decided on a plan yet and need to. Thanks
The Hungry Runner Girl
Hey! Mine is the first week of October! Haven’t decided what plan I am using yet though! I will post it as soon as I do!
Kristina @ Blog About Running
Mine is the first week of October too! I’m running the Portland Marathon :) My first ever 14 mile run is THIS WEEK!!!! I already have a ton of nervous energy that I hope translates into a strong finish on long run day!
Cassy @ Wine & Dine to the Finish Line
I always repeat the mantra “Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever.” to myself during a race where I feel like walking or quitting. It helps to remind me that this feeling will pass and I’ll be left with an even better one of accomplishment and pride for the rest of my life everytime I look back on the experience.
Chelsea @ A Fit LittleOne
Love all of these, especially “be kind to yourself”. There is nothing harder than a race where you are hard on yourself.
Liz @ Carpe Diem and Run
These are awesome tips! Big thanks to everybody who shared :)
My mantra is “I can’t shop until I drop!”. I’ve also been known to mutter “Mind over Matter” to myself a lot.
Christina @ The Athletarian
Thanks for putting this post together, Janae! And thank you to all the ladies who contributed (Rachelle is so funny)! Loving all of these tips.
My next race is in August and I’m hoping to break my half PR of 1:44!
Lesson I learned during my last race….running a marathon in the ran gives you nasty blood blisters!
25-30 miles this week :)
I love that you got so many viewpoints and tips. If you read one and it’s nothing new you can move on and maybe someone else has a great tip. Nice, Miss Janae. :)
Great, great post!! I think that with hard work you can do anything and you should NEVER forget that!!!:)
Great tips from some great athletes!
Annie @ What's Annie Making
I love “act like a horse, be dumb, just run!” So great!!! My best race advice is to make a list of everything you need a few days before the race and lay everything out the night before. Then on race morning you don’t have to spend unneccessary energy freaking out that you forgot something and can focus on what’s important.
Next race is in 2 weeks – a 5k that I’m hoping to break my PR at because it’s a flat fast course.
This week I have 30 miles planned!
Yes I put everything on one hanger night before except the shoes. Totally helps!!
My best race-day tip: Imagine yourself running the race well and finishing strong. I like to have mental images where I actually picture myself in my race-day clothes running strong. I think it really helps me to mentally succeed if I’ve spent time preparing my mind for it.
Brianna @ I run He tris
You have some speedy friends!! I love Rachelle’s recommendations. I’m running a 5k on Friday and my goal is to break 24 minutes, so i’m really keeping my fingers crossed!! During my last race I learned that you have to put mind over matter. Like Rachelle said, don’t think just run!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Mind over matter.. YEP!! Good luck at your 5k on Friday, you’ve got this!
Allie @ Running on Peanut Butter
My next race is this Thursday night for the 4th of July! I’m just running with 2 of my closest girl friends, and we are just running to have fun. The last mile is all downhill, so I know that it’s not a race I can judge for improvement. When I post the results, no one HAS to know the last mile was downhill :P
Sarah @ Sweet Miles
Love the tip about not overanalyzing it!! That could not be more true!! Also, I found it interesting to not worry about sleeping the night before..that is so me, I hardly ever get a good night’s rest the night before a big race!!
Jasmine @ A cupcake for my thoughts
Great advice for my first ever race in August! :)
These are all so good! Especially true during a 5k when all negative thoughts gone even when I want to quit only room for positive thoughts. Digging deep. To me smiling takes too much energy for a 5k at the end cause I’m just trying to suck air. But I love that tip for all other races!! K all your friends are gorgeous! I’ll have what their having;)
4 miles on my treadmill today speedwork in my garage
Love the tips!! I always try smile for race pictures but it turns out more like a pained grimace, more practice needed.
Kris @ Canadian Girl Runs.
Love these tips. I think the best one is just to accept race day as it is. I trained so hard for my first marathon at the beginning of June and the day of the race I had food poisoning. It sucked and I felt horrible and didn’t hit my goal time AT ALL but I did it and I was just happy that I survived that race feeling like death!
My next race is the Edmonton Marathon at the end of August! I am loving my ~40 mile weeks!
Alyssa @ See This Girl Run
Act like a horse, be dumb, just run. <—- LOVE this! Running should be natural and instinctive. If you're thinking about it too much, you're doing it wrong. I've seen this with side aches during a race: if I think about it and try to improve it, it just gets worse. If I ignore it and focus on just running, it goes away.
Amy @ Run Mom Run
Awesome tips! I wish I was as fast as any of those girls!
Such good advice! I used to worry about the lack of sleep the night before a race, but it really doesn’t affect me at all due to the adrenaline of race day.
Caitlin @ Happy 'n' Hungry
I hope to get in about 20 miles this week with some cross training!
These are great! thank you for sharing!!
Does Rebecca have a blog?!
PS i was catching up on your posts – my cousin just moved to Louisville and I just told her about the donut place you went to!!
Great post…especially love the advice from the fabulous Pam!
Sarah @ KS Runner
My tips – RELAX! And think positive. It’s just a race and there will always be another one, so even if it doesn’t go as planned, enjoy it! Not every race goes as planned, so you have to realize that you’ve done the work and your body is capable of amazing things.
Next race – Eugene Marathon on July 27! Then NYCM!
Leslee @ Her Happy Balance
My next race is the RnR Philadelphia half in September. It’ll be my first half so my goal is to finish and hopefully under 2:30…oh and have fun! I don’t want to burn myself out of running by doing too much too quickly.
One lesson I learned from my last race is to start out slower… I got to the half and felt really good…. I’m hoping I will feel the same in the fall…. Now if I could only pull myself out of this funk:/ I’ve also learned to listen to my body… Which has only taken 20 yrs:/
Seeing as I’m just gettin back into training I would be happy with 35-40 this wk…. Fingers crossed
I love these tips! I try to follow most of these rules during race day and just the routine of things keeps the pre-race jitters more in check.
Pam’s advice about knowing you may have to stray from your race plan is right on pointe. My last two marathons were awful and did not go according to race plan by, oh, 26.2 miles. There were a lot of factors that impacted how the race went for me, but the disappointment of not hitting my goals was hard to swallow. I need to be more okay with things not always being okay.
I love the tip about smiling at the end. I can see how this could filter in more happy thoughts when really, you feel like junk!
I am running a 5k on Friday. My goal is to place in the top 3!
Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
These are excellent tips and I love how everyone has what does and doesn’t work for them :)
I wish I had that many running friends :( Just one running friend would be great!
Still have never done a race.
The Hungry Runner Girl
Come move to Utah and run with us!
Hi Macy. I am sponsoring a running penpal linkup. Maybe you could join and make a new running friend. Details on my blog https://runwright.net/2014/06/20/running-mates/
Brittney @ Sweets 'N' Greens
I love all the tips! And I wish I knew that many people that run! I’m getting there though…slowlyy :)
Thanks for the great tips. My daughter Nicole and I ran in a half marathon yesterday at an amusement park in Ohio. It was so brutally hot that we were both really struggling with the heat and humidity and all that pavement. Your sister was nowhere to be found to run alongside us in her flip flops to give us a boost in morale either. When we absolutely just wanted to throw in the towel at about mile nine, I told Nicole “Come on…we have to channel our inner Janae right now. We can do hard things!” Somehow we made it through and even ended up PRing. Thanks for all of the inspiration. We think the world of you!
The Hungry Runner Girl
Wow. Huge congratulations on your pr in such crazy conditions. You are incredible and that is so cool that you ran with your daughter! Amazing!
Lisa @ Exercise eat repeat
thanks for the top tips, it was great to read them all. i have my first ever triathlon in 12 sleeps time and need all the advice i can get ;)
This was super helpful! Overall an big theme seems to be rest and fuel! We have to take care of our bodies as we put them through a lot!
Thank you so much for these tips x
Love these tips! I signed up for the Dallas Half in December!
Hayley in Training
Wow- going from a 4:30 marathon to a 3:18?? That’s like, my DREAM. Only cross-training and clean eating, huh? It sounds so simple… :P
Hydrate before! Don’t wait until the last second or you’ll regret it majorly! Also, have fun :)