How You Might Be Sabotaging Race Day Before It Starts
Almost every runner has had the experience of crossing the finish line and asking themselves ‘What happened back there?’ or ‘What was I thinking?’.
After all that preparation and commitment to hard work, it is a shame to throw it all away just hours before the race begins. These costly errors tend to stem from a nervous mind that is not focused on the race.
You've learned many things about running as you prepared for race day, but one thing people often don't talk about is what to avoid on race day itself.
Take a look at the common mistakes below and learn how to avoid them on race day so you finish strong every time. Some of these common mistakes happen the night before while others are on race day.
Changing Your Diet
You try a new drink or an Olympus Lab supplement for endurance thinking that it will enhance your performance on race day. Perhaps you heard another runner rave about the benefits or gave into marketing while looking for a boost.
When you change up your diet on race day, you are asking for a digestive system disaster. If you are going to use supplements, use them while you train, not just the day before the race.
On top of any digestion problems, you want to have plenty of energy to finish the race well. It is extremely important to maintain a nutritious diet if you are going to compete in races so you shouldn’t need a last-minute boost anyway.
Stick to what you know works for your body and get all your energy the good old fashioned way!
Wearing Brand New Shoes
You switch up your running shoes and try out a new pair. You think it will help give you that extra lift you need, but the truth is that you’ll be more likely to develop a blister than a faster time.
It seems logical to want to buy a newer, better pair of running shoes for the big race, but you should do so ahead of time and then give yourself enough time to break them in a bit. If you compete regularly, consider buying new running shoes at least a few weeks in advance of every race.
Comparing Yourself to Others
You take a moment before your race to check out social media and see the times of all your fastest friends. Not only did you turn your attention to something other than your race, you are hurting your confidence right when you need it most.
It’s bad for your nerves and it takes your attention off of what’s most important today. There will be other times to celebrate with your friends, but for now, focus on your race. If you can resist, avoid looking at other people’s times in the week leading up to the race, not just in the hours leading up to it.
Trying an Elite Warm-Up Routine
You imitate the warm-up routine of an elite athlete on race day and all that sprinting leaves you with a pulled muscle instead of being ready to run the race. What works for a runner in peak condition does not always work for even the most accomplished amateur runner.
This is especially true for anyone who runs in marathons or half marathon races because your body requires a different type of warmup altogether. The old adage of ‘don’t try this at home’ extends to what you see during professional races.
Lining Up at a Faster Pace
You take your place at the starting line with a faster group hoping that you will be able to push through the crowds at the beginning of the race. After keeping pace with this faster group you wonder why you are ready to collapse at the halfway mark.
It might seem like a good idea at first, but your competitive spirit will get the best of you and you’ll keep up with the other runners around you. Stick to your pace and avoid this pitfall — the crowds will eventually clear out.
Predicting the Weather
You check the weather forecast on the night before the race and you set out your gear accordingly. The weather can change so dramatically that you have to choose your gear on the morning of the race.
When you prepare the night before you'll find yourself with either too many or too few layers. If you are overly concerned about the weather, stock your car with plenty of layers and choose at the last minute.
You start making excuses for why you won't run well when you start to feel nervous. Going into a race with such a negative attitude means you will likely not run your best.
Maybe you are anxious about the competition or a nagging injury but you can't let that interfere with believing you always run your best. To overcome the temptation to start making excuses, try some mindfulness techniques designed for runners to get in your zone.