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9 Race Day Do’s and Don’ts To Remember

You’ve registered, paid your money and put in the training time — now you find yourself worrying about what will happen on race day. We hope you will go out and have a great day, but regardless of whether this is your first event or your 100th event, you will likely have something to be nervous about as you make your way to the starting line.What follows are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind on race day. Hopefully these will help calm some of those nerves. These do’s and don’ts are intended more for the first-timer, but could also serve as a nice reminder for those who consider themselves more experienced.

But regardless of whether you are a first-timer or an experienced racer — have fun and enjoy the day.


Race Do’s

  1. Do trust in yourself and your training. Do relax. The training isn’t always easy, but it is a required part of getting to the starting line on race day. So as you are getting ready to stand on that starting line — you need to remember to trust in the training you have done and perhaps more important — trust in yourself.
  2. Do pay attention on the course. This one is pretty easy. For your enjoyment, and the enjoyment of others you’ll want to be mindful out on the course. Try to pay attention to other runners when coming into an aid station, to other runners if/when you are in a group, and always make sure there isn’t anyone directly behind you if/when you stop to get a drink or take a walk break. In general, just pay attention and enjoy the course and all it has to offer.
  3. Do wear your race medal after you finish. Not every race will offer a finishers medal, however if you are given a medal when crossing the finish line — make sure you wear it proudly. And go with the full experience. Let the race volunteer place that medal around your neck. After all, someone hanging a medal around your neck is probably not a regular occurrence. Especially as an adult.

Bonus Race Do

Do stick around and enjoy the post-race activities. Eat the food, talk to the sponsors and get the most out of your day. You registered, trained, stood on the starting line, ran, and crossed the finish line — enjoy your accomplishments.

Race Dont's

  1. Don’t run in your race day t-shirt. Some consider this a superstitious thing and some consider this a sign of newbie status, but as a general rule you shouldn’t run in the shirt you were given when you signed up and checked in. Furthering this rule is a bit about how you need to ‘earn’ that shirt by crossing the finish line. You can however wear that shirt to the starting line next year to show off your veteran status.
  2. Don’t change your morning routine, and don’t try anything new for race day. The day before the event, the morning of the event, and during the event you will want to stick with what is familiar. New gear and new food may look or sound good, but remember it is untested. This goes back to the bit about relaxing and trusting in yourself and your training. This one also touches on your race day t-shirt. Along with the reasons we already mentioned — you shouldn’t wear that new shirt because, well, it is new and untested.
  3. Don’t get caught up in the pre-race excitement. There is often quite a bit going of activity on the morning of the race. Remember that everyone will get ready in their own way. And remember that what works for one person may not work for another. This touches on the last bit about not changing your morning routine, but goes a step further in what happens in those moments just before and just after the race begins. You’ll want to make sure you run your race. That means trusting your training and sticking to your race day plans in terms of speed. Run your race, not your fellow runners race.

Bonus Race Don’t

Don’t sit after the race. Make sure you keep moving to avoid getting stiff. Regardless of the distance you ran — you may be sore and stiff after you finish. That soreness and stiffness could lead you to the couch, or to a comfy looking chair just beyond the finish line but sometimes movement can be your best friend. You don’t have to run, or even walk far or long, but try to stay active later that day, into the evening and the following day. Remember that even short walks around your house can be helpful.

The Final (and Perhaps Most Important) Do and Don’t

This one may seem a bit obvious, but here goes; don’t get cranky with the race day volunteers and do thank the race day volunteers. Always keep in mind they are volunteers and they are out on the course supporting you. And while most volunteers will go above and beyond, there are things out of their control. For example, it is likely not the volunteers fault when the aid station they are working is out of your favorite race day drink or snack. Again, do thank the race day volunteers.

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