Race day can be stressful! If it’s your first time, I bet you’re a little stressed out right about now. That’s normal! It’s to be expected! You’re invested! I’m about to run my fifth marathon and I’m still a little stressed out! Race day is overwhelming! There’s so much to worry/get excited about! The key to a great race day is hope for the best but expect the unexpected.
These are the 10 most stressful parts about running a race:
1. Worrying about the weather on race day.
Will it be hot? Too hot? Raining? Snowing? The weather is out of your control! It’s OK to check periodically once the 10 day forecast goes up but take it with a grain of salt until race day eve eve. (And if it rains it rains! You’ll live! It’ll be OK! Unless you’re a witch…I heard water isn’t good for witches…)
2. The struggle to find the perfect race day outfit.
They say nothing new on race day but you want to look fly…I hear you! Just use your best judgement, these photos are going to haunt your throw back Thursday game for years to come. I’ve made the mistake of wearing a new sports bra during a marathon and I chafed like I’ve never chafed before. Dumb move? Yes. Do I regret it? No.
3. Worrying about…pooping…on race day.
By this point you know how to eat before a long run. You practiced this! If not just eat healthy foods and all will be well. Take your time before a race starts should you need to go to the bathroom. The start line isn’t going anywhere. In my opinion, it’s better to hop back a wave if you need to take care of some business.
4. Carb loading.
Carb loading is just as much fun as it sounds but the key to carb loading is to watch your portion sizes. Don’t eat 5 baguettes in the name of carb loading! There’s a method to the madness people! Reach for complex carbs, keep the portion sizes realistic and keep dinner the night before the race lighter. (Will your race be a disaster if you eat 3 plates of pasta the night before a race? No. Not that I know from experience…)
5. If you will look like you’re dying in your race day photos.
Embrace those hideous race day photos, they are hilarious and wonderful. Do I love a perfect candid, “Look at me in all my glory” race day photo? Yes, yes I do. But I love these infinitely more. This guy is getting framed as we speak.
6. Whether or not there will be enough porta pottys at the start line.
NEVER show up to race day without a roll of toilet paper. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
7. Not knowing what to expect/surviving.
The scariest part about race day is not knowing what to expect. If it’s your first time, you’re probably worried about coming in last place or just simply surviving. Just run the mile you’re in. Give yourself permission to walk should you need to walk and ENJOY THE RACE. The hardest part was the training and it’s already over! GO YOU! Now you just have to put one foot in front of the other!
8. Trying to find your friends and family on the course.
Tell your people where to be by giving them exact street corners. Then tell them to be on either the runner’s left or the runner’s right. (Now sometimes they can’t cross the street. Be flexible, stay calm and keep your eyes peeled.) I spent most of my first marathon stressing that I missed my parents. Then I found them at mile 24. Never again.
9. Hydrating and fueling along the course.
Take some time before the race to write down your fueling plan. If I had a dollar for every time I fogged out during a marathon and forgot I put my last energy gel in a secret pants pocket, I’d have $3. Running a race can be overwhelming and the last thing you want to do mid race is try to figure out how to hit the wall. Plan ahead.
10. Crossing the finish line like a boss.
Rule #1 of crossing the finish line, DON’T TOUCH YOUR WATCH! Cross the finish line, ham it up, and THEN look down and stop your watch.
My favorite part about running is that no one runs a race because they had nothing better to do. Almost everyone is running because they have something to prove, someone they’re fighting for or something they’re fighting to achieve. Race day is your day, go be incredible. I’ll see you out there! Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.