The Casual Runner

Race Tips: Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Fall race season is right around the corner, and, for many Casual Runners, this will mark the first time that they will be toeing the line at a race! Good luck to you all! We remember our first time…in fact, Team Casual Runner shared with you those things that we wished we would have known before entering our first races.


Whether your next race is your first or your fiftieth, we want to help you succeed. So we gathered the Team and compiled our list of 10 (or so) quick tips that every Casual Runner should know before running a race they may not think about.. Here you go, and, if we missed anything, please reach out to us and let us know, we always love hearing from our readers!

10. Toe the Line with Trimmed Toe(nail)s.  Trim your toenails before the race. The last thing you want is long toenails rubbing against your shoes and causing you discomfort, or worse. Also, do not do this too soon before the race because you may trim them too short (we’ve all been there) and you do not want that.
9. Leave Time to Go to the Bathroom. TMI ALERT. Sometimes it takes a while to get things going in the morning before you can properly clear out your system. Make sure you wake up early enough on race morning to leave yourself time to poo before you leave the house or hotel. On a related note, drink a cup of joe or whatever gets you going in the morning. Sometimes it’s inevitable, but it’s always best to get that out of the way if possible. Trust us, mid-race when everyone else is stopping to find a bush, you will be thanking us.
8. Dress for the Occasion. If it is going to be cold on race morning, drop by Goodwill or any other second hand store (or use some old gear you don’t care about) for layers that you can toss. Most races come by and grab it and donate it again, think of it as the Circle of life!
7. Know the Way to the Finish Line.  Before the race, Google reviews of the previous year’s race. It’ll tell you what to expect and how to combat any issues that might still be there. It’s why we do so many race reviews!
6. Don’t Be Like Mike. Lay out ALL your gear right after your last shake out run. You will be thinking about the race the most at that point, so you are less likely to forget anything you need. You hear that Mike? Race morning is definitely NOT the time to go searching for your headphones or good pair of running socks.
5. Fuel Up Right. Figure out what your body likes for pre-race breakfast and stick to the routine.  Don’t risk over or underfeeding yourself in the name of trying something new.  Be boring for one day.
Speaking of food, if you’re going to do gels or fuel during your race (especially for a longer distance like a half marathon), make sure you try out your preferred method prior to race day so as to avoid tummy issues. It’s also good to figure out how many gels you’ll be taking during the race.
4. Go the Distance. Figure out race transportation prior to the big day. Can you walk to the start line from your house/hotel, or will you have to drive/take public transportation? Is Uber or a taxi a better option?
3. If You Run It, They Will Come.  If you are meeting up with people post-race, have a designated spot picked out. Sometimes cell service doesn’t work, especially if the race is crowded, so it’s smart to have a place to go to, just in case. (Fun fact: this happened to Tracy in NYC when she was trying to meet up with her fiancé after he ran the NYC Half. Her cell phone randomly decided to die, and luckily she had his work phone with her, buuuut she didn’t remember his personal cell phone number. A better post-race plan would have helped!).
2. Rock your Race. When making a race playlist, err on the side of too many songs rather than too few. You will have some spill over built in for the chance that you take longer to finish than originally thought and something to jam to in the finish chute.  Plus, there’s nothing more demoralizing/boring than hearing the same songs ten miles later!
IMG_39521. Be Prepared! Have a backup strategy in case things don’t go according to plan. For example: let’s say you’re trying to get a new PR (Goal A), but you get an unbearable side stitch early in the race. At that point, you could switch to Goal B, which could be finishing the race in a new time goal – just not a personal best. You pay a lot of money for these races, do not let missing a particular goal dampen your enjoyment of the event.
BONUS Tip: When you cross that finish line, wear that SMO like a champ…you EARNED it!

Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!