Friday, August 23, 2013

9 Tips for Race Morning

Tomorrow morning I’m doing the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon in Denver, courtesy of Athleta. This will be my third time doing this race.  They changed the venue this year, so I am a course virgin.

2011 (check out my pinky. I must think I’m sipping a cup of tea, or giving you the finger)




I love this race because:

  • Estrogen is overflowing at this 100% women’s race
  • This is a first time triathlon for a lot of the people who do this race. Lots of inspiring stories.
  • There are tampons and aromatic antibacterial soaps on a table outside the potties
  • At the end, there is the absolute best spread of food I've ever seen at a race and you eat on linen table cloths

My old lady wave (45+)  starts at 7:30 a.m. I will be the one in the orange cap. This means about a 4:30 a.m. wake up call. Early morning wake ups suck, but they REALLY suck when you are racing and stressed and trying to remember every detail in the world.

That said, here are My Tips for Race Morning:

1. Do the things that you CAN do the night before. Lay out your race outfit. Pack your bag (don’t forget to have post race clothes and flip flops). Prepare your breakfast and stick it in the fridge. Set the coffee pot on a timer. Print out directions to the race start. Charge your Garmin/iPod, etc. Pin on your bib.  Set your alarm.

For a triathlon I used a packing list like this one.


Getting organized the night before will remove some stress and you will sleep like a baby (a baby with colic, that is – I usually don’t sleep well the night before a race).

(Btw, if you are looking for a triathlon bag to lug all your crap in, Ken got me this one a couple years ago for Christmas and it is the BEST).

2. Wake up. Breathe. Don’t stress yourself out. Think of a mantra or quote that calms you down. I like, “Think strong. Be strong. Finish strong.” Take  your nervous energy and channel it into the positive.

3. Start drinking water. Especially if your race is long one and will be hot, you hopefully will have started hydrating a couple days before the event. But, be sure to take in a significant amount of water a couple hours before. That should give you enough time to pee it out.

4. Eat something. Like they say, don’t do anything new on race day. This means eat whatever you normally eat. For me, it’s peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread and a banana.

5. If you are into this sort of thing, drink a large cup of steaming coffee. Hopefully this will lead to #6 (well, it will actually lead to number two, but you know what I mean).

6. Poop. There is nothing better than having a satisfying dump on race morning.

7. If time allows, re-check the weather and make sure you’re prepared for anything.

8. For God’s sake, get there early. The last thing you want to do is add to your race day stress by running late. Give yourself time to take in the start area, warm up a bit, put on sunscreen and most importantly, used the loo.

9. Now, go out and enjoy the hell out of yourself. Remember - first place, last place or somewhere in the middle - you GET TO DO THIS and you are extremely fortunate.


 What’s your tip for race morning?

Do you have a mantra you particularly love?


PS: If you are going to be there tomorrow, let me know!


  1. Good luck!!! I agree with all of your tips! Also ... don't change your race goals because you have adrenaline on race morning! I have been known to say "oh I can go a little faster than I planned" and then burn out after the first few miles ... oops :). Have a blast!

  2. The advise was great and fun too.

  3. "Old lady wave" was my favorite part of this. The early wake-ups NEVER get easier. In fact, everytime (every.single.time.) I ask myself, "Why? Why do we do this? Why? For the love of God, WHY?" I never, ever regret it. Enjoy yourself, lady! I bet it will be fabulous! The early morning temps as of late have been awesome for running and whatever! Go get 'em!

  4. One more piece of advice: the race is the culmination of all your training. Enjoy it! Go with what the day gives you. Have fun!

  5. I definitely second the tip about hydrating a couple hours before race time. During a hot summer half marathon, I made the mistake of taking too much water in too close to race time, and subsequently lost control of my bladder every time I ran through the misters that were scattered about on the race course to cool runners down. Thank goodness for black running skirts!

  6. Another thing I added to my pre-race to do list: determine where to meet family/friends after the event. I forgot to do this for my first half marathon, which had 6,000 runners. I had seen my husband just before the finish lie, but then we lost each other in the crowd. I had no phone on me, so it took awhile before we caught up with each other.

  7. OMG, I love that weather map!! Well done!!
    Oh yeah... the rest of the advice is pretty6 damn good too!!
    Go git 'em!!

  8. Have a great race!!!

    I'm pretty sure stuffing as many as possible of the free tampons and soaps into your sports bra as you go by is frowned upon...

    But what do I know, I have one of those dangly Y chromosomes...

  9. Have an awesome race! These are awesome tips :)

  10. We ran through Cherry Creek and saw all the race did set up tonight! Have fun tomorrow!

  11. Best of Luck tomorrow

  12. Good luck!...not that you need it and you've probably already started the race so whatever!! I follow all those rules you listed and NO new clothes on race day either! That can lead to a chafing nightmare, right? My mantra: keep your pace, run your race!

  13. Good Luck! Have fun! I like your #2, gonna share that with my son who wrestles.

  14. Ok, this is probably one of those things that EVERYONE knows - but it had never before occurred to me that I could pin on my race bib BEFORE I put my shirt on. Why, this completely revolutionizes my racing life!

  15. To get to sleep the night before my first marathon I repeated slowly 'I am strong, I am ready, I can do it'. Woke up feeling good!

  16. Congrats on almost making the for long stuff sometimes gets in the way of sprint races...

    1. Thanks...yes, I was bummed about being #4 although I wasn't even close to the 3rd place finisher. You are right...oddly the long stuff I've been doing kind of did not prepare me for sprinting...the cold water also took my breath away and got me off to a bad start.

  17. My biggest tip is do not try anything new. Stick to your routine!

  18. Thanks for that. I had my very first HM today and we had to leave early as well. Unfortunately my planning did not include the train that was half an hour delayed - after a very fast half an hour walk to the station because we thought we would not make the train. But we still made it. Even so I entered the potty when the start signal was given. But considering I managed to pee, jump the fence and than still had to wait for another two or three minutes until I actually moved, it was fine.

  19. I did a sprint triathlon yesterday also. Felt horrible, but had my PR. Not really saying much since it was only my second one. It was tge exact same course, so better is good.
    Keep up your awesome training.

  20. Great list! LOL @ "old lady wave"!

  21. I just finished my second Hood to Coast (Oregon) yesterday. (Runner #1) I packed and repacked and didn't sleep. When I finished my last leg, I almost bowed down and thanked the forces that be that I didn't poop myself.

  22. I would have to add: Make sure you know HOW to get to the race! Know which roads will be closed and where the detours are so that you're not wasting time trying to figure out where to park, etc.

  23. Great tips. Drinking a big glass of water leads to #2, er, #6 as well (if you're a freak who doesn't drink coffee).

    Hope you had a great time, Beth!

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  25. I did my 1st Tri at Iron Girl/Athleta this year, and they are fabulous. Couldn't have been a better first experience! PS - I'm in the "Shit Load" area on the weather map :-)