Here are a few tips to help you make this race day your best thus far:
Bring dry clothes and a post-race snack/meal
There is a bag drop that is usually quite secure and quick. You can put anything in the bag that you may want at the end of the race (dry clothes, water bottle, money, post-run drink and snack, phone, jacket, money, bandages, etc.). A post-race snack is essential as is water or a sports drink. Don’t forget to eat and hydrate!
Do as you normally do on long runs
Bring your hydration belt or bottle if you usually need water before 5K. There will be water and fruit on the course, but this may not be sufficient for every runner. If you’re not used to fruit or AA drink on your long runs, bring what you normally use.
Don’t wear new shoes!
And be careful with wearing anything else that’s new (socks, sports bras, heart rate monitors). If you haven’t worn them before, you could experience chaffing, blisters, or pain. Test shoes out on a few short runs before trying long ones. If you experience chaffing or blisters, cover the area with Vaseline or other anti-chafe balm prior to running.
Strategically place family or friends along the course
Place supporters at a point on the course that might be difficult for you (ex. km 14 or 15). Specify if you want them on the right or the left side so you know where to look in the crowds. Here’s more info for spectators.
Put your name on your bib or shirt
Print or write your name in big clear letters (on your front and/or back) for spectators to read and cheer you on. Adding your name where it’s easily legible from afar help supporters cheer you on, giving you a huge boost and the impression that you have supporters all along the course. You can write it on your bib, iron on letters on your shirt, wear a sash, or pin on a sign. Get creative–get more supporters.
Have a race mantra
Think up a mantra that you repeat to yourself when you feel tired or need a boost. I repeat the chorus of James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” Others might be, “I can do this” or “I am strong. I’m a runner.” Create one that works for you.
Run for others
Make your run more meaningful and run for your friends, family, or lost loved-ones. Break down your race into parts and dedicate the parts to people who will power you through the race. For example, run kms 1 – 4 for your spouse, 5 – 8 for your mother, 9 – 12 for your great aunt, and 13 – 16 for your kids. You can even write this on a wrist band or your arm to remind you.
Smile for the camera
There are professional photographers who will grab a shot of you throughout and at the end of the race. Don’t forget to run strong and smile.
You may get to repeat this race, but you won’t get to repeat this day. Have fun. Look around–take it all in. Say hello to someone running near you. Thank the spectators. Just enjoy the day.
When your legs feel tired, run with your heart.
Wishing you a great race! Happy running!