I used to be always stressed a couple of days before the run and even more so the day before. And since I’m not a morning person, my biggest fear has always been about snoozing the alarm and not waking up on time. The other one being what if I have to use the washroom in the middle of the run! However, over time I have learned a few lessons by talking to others and from experiences. You can’t control everything that happens on the day of the run but you can certainly be better prepared.
First things first, stop stressing – We are all recreational runners. While we would like to test ourselves, it’s more important to enjoy the event. 5kms and 10kms are the best community events there can be. You get to spend a morning with strangers cheering you on, feeding you and offering water, and celebrating doing something healthy for yourself. There is nothing called coming last and it’s perfectly ok to walk the entire stretch, from start to finish.
Get ready the night before – Lay out your running gear, attach the running bib and get as much sleep as possible- aim for eight hours. But that hardly ever happens so ensure you get enough sleep through the week.
Don’t do anything new – Don’t try new food, new gear or anything that you haven’t done before. It’s easier said than done. I have ended up wearing new shoes and new tees (event tee) and I have been lucky so far. Wearing something comfortable is the most important thing. Wearing something that makes you feel good is important too 🙂 For women it’s equally important to wear the right sports bra which offers good support and doesn’t chafe the skin (click here for some tips on how to buy the right one).
However, I’m always careful about food. I avoid eating sea food specially and outside in general a couple of days before the run.
Eat something – Have a banana, dates or a slice of toast at least one hour before the run.
Port-a-loo – Most good runs have port-a-loos near the start line and somewhere mid distance. Now you can’t expect them to clean or not stink, as they are being used to by hundreds. So clip your nose and use it if need be. You will get used to it soon enough 🙂
Light meals the day before the run – Don’t go overboard with food specially proteins a day before the run. Eat light, healthy and wholesome food instead.
Playlist – If you are not much of a talker or need something to distract you so that the distance doesn’t bog you down, then a good playlist is important. An armband to keep your phone will be handy. I prefer wireless MP3.
Post the run – Eat something nutritious within 30 minutes of finishing the run. I prefer eggs, nuts and a sandwich. And no, eating chole bhature isn’t going to help.
Be active the next day – As sore as you might feel the day after the race, it’s important to do some easy activity or the other, it could be cycling, just a stroll or a bit of stretching. The movement will increase circulation to your sore muscles and help you bounce back sooner.
Happy Running 🙂