Do you have a plan?
I’m not talking about a training plan, but a race plan. A plan for the day before and race day itself? Or do you go into a race just as you might a random training day? Chances are you will have a much better race if you take at least a few minutes an plan out your race day routine. I’m telling you this because I still need to write my race plan for tomorrow’s half-marathon and it’s already 8pm the night before. Granted, it’s a local race (no travel/accomodations needed) and I am familiar with the venue, but I still need to make sure I have everything I need. This will also keep me from forgetting anything I might need on race day!
So, let’s do this together…here’s how I think through writing my plan for a local event:
The race starts at 10am and packet pick-up is at 9am, which means I need to leave the house at 8:30am. This also means I need to have my pre-race meal (2 packets of GenUCAN mixed with some peanut butter) on my drive to the race site.
If I leave my house at 8:30, I’ll want to be up by 7am to give me plenty of time to hydrate, get dressed, and make sure I have everything I need. To make sure I get a good night’s sleep, I’ll want to be in bed by 10:30 at the latest.
Even though I didn’t formally plan ahead by writing this down, I knew I would be racing so I made a pre-race meal of chicken (lightly seasoned with cumin & chili pepper, onion and garlic, and kale) and sweet potato spears. I finished that meal around 7pm. Normally I like to be done with dinner at least 12 hours before the race start, but since this is a late starting race, that wasn’t a problem at all! I’ve also been drinking water all day to stay on top of my hydration.
I need to foam roll and stretch so I will do starting at 9pm. Before I got to bed I will also make sure I have all my clothes around for tomorrow. This includes I will wear for the race and a change of clothes for afterwards. Can’t forget the compression tights for afterwards! It’s also going to be cold (high of 34, probably mid-20s at race start) so I will want to have layers.
Pre-race routine: After packet pick-up I will get in some dynamic warm-ups and get to the starting line as close to 10am as possible. I will start somewhat near the front, but not at the very front.
Fueling & Hydration: Have a banana and some yogurt when I wake up. Then before I leave mix up the GenUCAN/PB mix to have on my drive. As the GenUCAN should carry me a good ways through the race, I will just carry a gel or two during the race (Hammer espresso!) For hydration on the race course I will carry a hand-held bottle since I’m not sure on the aid station situation (1st time for this race). This way I know I will have at least 18oz of electrolytes to drink throughout the course when I need it. I’ll plan on taking the gel at mile 9 to give me a little extra kick into the last few miles of the race.
Pacing Strategy: Never start a race without knowing what your pacing strategy will be! I will do a 5min run/30s walk strategy and try to hit 8:00-8:15min/mile pace on the run. I know this could be on the high end of what I can do based on my current training situation, so I know if it is, I will just slow down a bit. But, I want to see if I can get close to my half marathon PR (1:48:26ish) doing a run/walk strategy. That means my run segments will need to be closer to the 8:00 pace.
Mental Strategy: Go hard – give it my all. But know I’m there doing as a training race for the LA marathon and want to have fun. I will run hard, but enjoy it!
Post race: Walking back to the car will be a nice cool down, and then I will change and enjoy the post-race celebration and breakfast special at Jack Quinn’s.
OK…it’s almost 8:30 now so I better start getting my things around. Come back for my race report!
If you want to know the real ins and outs of writing a race plan, check out my eBook: How to Write a Triathlon Race Plan.