Races are back and we can’t be more excited, including the Pirates 21km on 20 February – Gauteng’s hardest half marathon. Here’s a handy race-day check-list plus tips to ace race day!
With all the big races set to come back this year, many South Africans are entering and committing to those events as means to get back on the fitness wagon and find that training community again. Setting a race goal is a great way to maintain fitness and work towards that next achievement.
How to ace race day:
Race day is around the corner and you want to do well! Here’s some great advice to ensure you have the best race day possible.
- The week before race day, make sure you are hydrating enough, eating healthy, nutritious foods. If it’s been very hot and you tend to suffer from cramping, tke electrolytes two to three days in advance.
- Prioritise your sleep in the days building up to race day. You want your body to be well rested and ready to perform! If you’re the kind that gets race nerves the night before, don’t worry: It’s really the sleep two nights before that counts.
- Two days before race day, make sure that you get in enough carbohydrates so that your body is appropriately fuelled. Potatoes and pasta are great examples. Avoid foods that are very spicy or high in fibre 24 hours before racing as this might impact how your tummy feels when you run. Read more: Runner’s Stomach – What It Is And How To Prevent It.
- Work out your pacing. Generally with a half marathon you don’t want to push too fast in the first half, going about 10 or so seconds slower than your race pace fpr the first 5km. Then begin to push in the second half, really taking it home in the last 3km to finish strong. Use this pacing chart to work out how fast you need to run to achieve your goal:
Your Pace Your 21km time 5min/km 1hr45min29sec 5.15min/km 1hr50min46sec 5.30min/km 1hr56min02sec 5.45min/km 2hr01min19sec 6min/km 2hr06min35sec 6.15min/km 2hr11min52sec 6.30min/km 2hr17min08sec 6.45min/km 2hr22min24sec 7min/km 2hr27min41sec 7.15min/km 2hr32min57sec 7.30min/km 2hr38min14sec 7.45min/km 2hr43min30sec 8min/km 2hr48min47sec
- Pack out your race gear the day before so that you don’t have to look for anything in the morning and also check that all your kit is in order.
- Appropriate running shoes
- Your running outfit plus a jacket if the mornings are cool before you start
- A race/ running belt to keep your phone and keys
- Emergency tissues (you never know when you may need them)
- A fully charged fitness tracker / watch
- It’s often good to pack a plaster or two in case you get a blister (place in your running belt)
- A bag with a change of clothes, water, electrolytes and a protein shake for afterwards
- Anti-chafe cream for those areas that can get tender during a long run
- A squeezy running bottle with some water (and electrolytes or race fuel as needed) so that you don’t have to stop at water stations if you don’t want to.