The Top 10 Dos and Don'ts of Race Day
By Tyler Barrett

The morning of race day is stressful. Months and months of preparation have gone into this one event. Your mind is wondering if you prepared enough - “Did I get enough long runs in?” “Did I taper adequately enough?” “Did I fuel properly?” The only thing you want to be thinking about on race day is enjoying the race, so taking the guesswork out of prepping is key. Whether you are getting ready to run your first race or you are a seasoned runner with hundreds of races under your belt, having a plan and being prepared is key to a fun, successful day. Below are my top 10 “dos” and “don’ts” for race day to get you on the right track!

    1. DON’T change up your breakfast! When I work with clients, I always tell them they “can’t outrun a bad diet”. This is so true for race day. Stick to what works for your gut. Do not switch up things or try new foods prior to your race, or else you might be paying for it mid-run.
    2. DO get some sleep! I know, I know, it is tough to sleep before the big day, but your body needs the rest. Stick to your normal sleep cycle and times. Most races require participants to get to the starting line early. This may require you to go to bed a bit earlier to get the right amount of shuteye.
    3. DON’T bring headphones. This may sound crazy for some, especially coming from a guy who used to run with headphones all the time. But really, unplug and enjoy the run. You will be surprised how much more connected you are to your body and how much more focused you are on the race. You become more aware of your breathing and pace. Give it a try!
    4. DO lay your gear out prior to going to bed the night before. When it is 4 am the morning of race day, it is inevitable you are going to forget something if you’re packing at the last minute. Doing this inventory the night before will help ensure you won’t forget anything you may need mid run (for me it is always Chapstick).
    5. DON’T change your planned pace. This can be very difficult for anyone with a competitive bone in their body! Run the race at the pace you have been training and planning for. This will help you have a successful race day.
    6. DO take before and after selfies…you will thank me later!
    7. DON’T over pack. This is especially important for races that are a marathon or less in distance. I always get a kick out of seeing other runners with 15 gel packs, 2 gallons of water and a Go-Pro camera just for a half marathon (I know, I am being a little dramatic, but you get the point). I’ve learned that less is best, especially if aid stations are available. 
    8. DO prepare a fueling plan complete with calories, electrolytes, and hydration (and dial it in during training). Tailwind Endurance Fuel makes that easy. Make sure you know if your fuel is on course at your race, otherwise you need to plan on just refilling water at aid stations and bringing your own product.
    9. DON’T wear new shoes. The last place you want to find out if your new $150 running shoes are any good is 5 miles into a race. There is nothing wrong with using your dirty, worn running shoes on race day.
    10. DO take care of your body after the race. You are going to be tired and sore. Your body will need the proper nutrients to build back up what you just got done tearing down. I love to use Tailwind Rebuild. Not only does it taste great, but it will instantly replenish your body with the protein, carbs, and electrolytes needed for a fast recovery.

Tyler Barrett is the Wellness Coordinator for Chobani and a certified fitness specialist. Tyler regularly works with clients at varying levels of fitness, helping them reach their fitness and nutrition goals.

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