While virtual races may be the new marathon and half marathons of 2020, one thing remains the same: From a grueling training schedule to choosing the perfect running gear to carb loading, you’ve planned for race day for what feels like forever.
But no matter how much you’ve geared up, it’s possible to overlook some key things in the final hours. Follow our tips below to get started on the right foot for your upcoming virtual race.
It’s not just a scouting motto: Making some preparations before your feet hit the pavement will help make your race (virtual or otherwise) a more enjoyable experience — and keep you from scrambling on the day of the event.
Check the weather.
Weather can change in the blink of an eye, so checking the weather forecast the night before and on the day of your race is important. Checking the forecast will help you be sure you have the right running gear, including a hat, sunglasses, gloves or sunscreen if needed.
Get everything ready the night before.
Set out your clothing, prep your breakfast and take every step you can to make sure you’ve got everything you need when you need it. You don’t want to show up late because you couldn’t find your favorite running socks.
Use anti-chafing balm.
This can make the difference between a good and a bad race. Be sure to have your favorite anti-chafing balm on hand and that you’ve tried a few options beforehand to find your best one.
“Chafing during a race can be uncomfortable, no matter how far you’re running,” says Dr. Justin Tunis,, sports medicine specialist at Geisinger Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Scranton. “To help avoid the discomfort, apply balm anywhere you might chafe, including your armpits, under bra straps and even around your bellybutton.”
Before you depart on your run, make sure you have time for a 5- to 10-minute jog and some of your favorite stretches to loosen your muscles. Do some breathing exercises to help get grounded and focused, too
Consistency is key
If you’re thinking about trying something new, wait until after you’ve completed your run. Changes to the things you do on race day (even small ones) can throw a wrench into your plans. Stick to the tried-and-true things you’ve always done to have the best possible race experience.
Don’t change up your routine.
Stick to foods and drinks you can tolerate, and wear an outfit you’ve run in before that you know you’ll be comfortable in. “A race is not the right time to try out new running shoes or gear,” Dr. Tunis says.
Don’t skip a meal.
You need to make sure that you’re adequately fueled for race day. “Make sure that you properly fuel the night before,” says Dr. Tunis, “and wake up early enough to eat several hours before the start of the race.”
Although you may not be running the race in the way you’re used to, your hard work and dedication will pay off.
“Be safe and have fun! You worked hard to get here, and we can’t wait to cheer you on virtually,” Dr. Tunis says.