Cardinal Rule of Race Day
by Super Dave
It's very hard to simply wing it when it comes to the day of your race. No matter your speed or
distance, winging it has little chance for success. So you have to plan for the day and at
least the two days prior.
From when you'll pick up your race number to what you'll wear and eat on race day, there is
plenty to plan for including the race itself. The cardinal rule of race day is: In the race,
use what you've practiced with in training. Don't introduce anything new on race day. With
that in mind, here's a short list of basic pointers to help you plan for a great event day!
- Decide what you will drink and eat on the course and practice doing so in training.
If you plan to drink from the aid stations, practice drinking the event drink. If not, plan on
carrying your drink with you. I also actually plan when I will drink and eat. My event plan is
to drink (sip) every 10 minutes and to consume a gel every 45 minutes.
- Plan your breakfast and practice it at least once or twice before the event. If you
are traveling to the event and want to eat your normal breakfast, make sure you can. The
toilets along the event course are for those runners who thought bacon and eggs was a good idea
when throughout training, oatmeal was the standard pre-run breakfast.
- Decide what apparel you will wear and practice running in it. The last thing you
want is to wear a new top or a new pair of shorts that start chafing at mile two. Something new
is a great pick-me-up for race day. Just make sure you've had some practice runs in it before
- Pick your socks now. Socks are the first line of defense against blisters, but they
can also be the biggest cause of blisters. I am a freak about socks. I know which socks work
best with different shoes. I always take two pairs of socks with me for event day just in case
I don't like the feel of the first pair I put on.
- Decide on your shoes now and break them in with at least 5 runs. With 5 runs you'll
know without a doubt if they are the right shoes. Now this bit of advice may seem like common
sense, but every year at expo's around the country, runners buy shoes on Saturday to run in on
Sunday. Some of those runners "breeze" through the event without a problem. However,
more of them cross the finish line with blood seeping through the mesh of the shoes. Do take
advantage of the deals at the event, just don't introduce those deals to your feet on race
Believe me, this information is not just for beginners! Some of the most seasoned runners
will introduce something new on race day only to find themselves hobbling down the finish
stretch. Even I have missed doing some of these items on race day, and I have distinct memories
of pain because of it. You've already done all the really hard work. Remember the cardinal rule
and be sure to plan for race day and you'll have a much better chance of reaching your