How To Prepare For Race Day

By Takia McClendon

The count down to race day is officially on! This is the moment you've been training for... hopefully. Whether you stuck to your training program or pretty much plan to wing it, what you do this week can help make or break your race.

Here are 5 tips to get you through the week!

Let's talk tapering:

Tapering refers to a reduction in exercise or training. In the week leading up to your race, you'll want to do just that. This week is not the time to squeeze in those last minute long runs. In fact, you'll want to do the exact opposite! Let's focus on reducing stress on our bodies, getting enough sleep, and keeping our mileage short (think 3-4 miles runs if you're a beginner).

What's the deal on carb loading?:  

You'll probably want to begin your carb load a few days before the race; not just the night before. "When you eat a bowl of spaghetti, most of the carbs are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is your body's most easily accessible form of energy..." (Runner's World) -- This will help prevent you from "hitting a wall" during your race. Carb loading is not an excuse to eat "unhealthy" foods. In fact, high fat foods and proteins fill you up faster but take longer to digest.

Don't try anything new:

Expo weekend is super fun! It's your chance to buy flashy running toys, Gu, shoes, and the latest running apparel guaranteed to enhance your run...If you haven't trained with these products, trying them on race day may lead to serious trouble. For example, if you've never trained with energy gels on a run, you won't know if the consistency will make you nauseous. Avoid the temptation to try your new products and save them for after race day is over.

Enjoy The Expo: 

Be sure to commit a few hours to the Expo if you have free time. This may be your only chance to attend FREE workshops led by run industry professionals. Race organizers usually bring in the best coaches, doctors, and innovators to speak about training, injury prevention, and recovery during the expo so even attending one session can help you become a better runner.

Plan for Race-Day morning:

From picking out your outfit to your pre-race meal prep, advanced planning for race-day morning will improve your overall experience. What time should you wake up? How are you getting to the start line? Do you have enough safety pins? It's really all in the details when it comes to making --and sticking to -- a plan. Most importantly, this is a time to have fun.

Try not to sweat the small stuff and stick to your plan. Get enough sleep, hydrate, relax and you'll do just fine. Do you have any pre-race week tips? Be sure to share them in the comments section below.