Everyone knows all about the throwaway sweatshirt, right? Even my husband knows and he's not a runner! He works at a local university and last year, found a box of sweatshirts that were going to be thrown out. He brought a bunch home, knowing I needed some throwaways for races. Who is this man? I'm still working my way through the sweatshirts. If you don't have a source for free throwaway sweatshirts, you can always hit up your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other thrift store for cheap pre-race coverups. This University of Northern Iowa sweatshirt actually made it to several races before I finally left it at the Chicago marathon.
So maybe it's not cold enough for a sweatshirt pre-race, but you want to keep your arms warm while you start out. There's no need to buy arm warmers! Make your own by taking a pair of knee high or tube socks and cut off the toes. Slide them up your arms and voila! When you peel them off after mile 2 or so, you'll feel no guilt about ditching them.
Cold hands? Every fall I stock up on those dollar store gloves. Not only do I keep a pair in my car, my work bag, and everywhere else I can think of, I use them for races and runs when the temperatures are a little bit cooler at the start. If you get too warm, you can just toss them aside.
This hack might sound like the most common sense advice ever, but hear me now and thank me later when I tell you to lay out your clothes the night before. The last thing you want to do is to be making race day outfit decisions. Those flat runner pics you see all over Instagram? There's a method to that madness. And don't forget to pin your race bib on your shirt the night before. That way you can get it straight and not have to fuss with it in the morning.
Don't lose sleep over losing sleep the night before a race. Let it go. What you do need to do is make sure you get plenty of sleep the nights leading up to the night before the race. Does that make sense?
Choose your socks wisely. No cotton. Ever. I won't make any brand recommendations--everyone has their favorites, but make sure your socks are road tested. I prefer low cut socks but have a few pairs that like to migrate down my foot into my shoe. That isn't something I want to deal with during a race! If you are prone to blisters, you can apply deodorant/antiperspirant to your feet as a preventative measure.
Every runner should wear a waist pack or 2 to carry all the essentials you might need. I use one to carry my fuel. In the other, I carry wipes and chafing cream. You can buy convenience packs of wipes at Target. That way if you encounter a porta potty with no TP, you are prepared. Trust me on this one. Plus, wipes are good for more than potty stops! I use them to wipe my hands--my fuel gets a little sticky-- and for cleaning up my skin after the race.
I carry my own fuel (Tailwind) and so I only have to stop about once/hour to refill my handheld bottle. But if you drink water or Gatorade on the course, I highly recommend running to the far end of the fueling area to avoid getting caught up in the bottleneck of runners grabbing for cups.
Pick out your mantra for race day. Do you have a mantra that you use while training to keep you motivated? Wearing a Momentum wrap, personalized with your mantra is just the thing. One of my favorites is "never give up". I brought bracelets with that mantra to Panama City Beach with me last December and gave them to all my friends.
Don't forget to smile! Smiling always makes me feel more positive and when I smile everything feels easier.
After the race, hop into the shower IN YOUR RUNNING CLOTHES. This might sound weird. But showering in your running clothes actually helps you wash away the salt, the sweat, and other unmentionable body fluids. I've done this and then I hang my clothes to dry before I wash them.
Are there any hacks that I missed?
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I'm linking up with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for Tuesdays on the Run; Debbie, Susie, Lora, and Rachel for Coaches' Corner as well as Nicole, Jen, and Annemarie for Wild Workout Wednesday!
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