471451_Girlfriends_run_17_t760x500It’s Race Day – Steps Leading Up to Your Race

If you’ve followed along with this running program series, you’ve learned about proper running progression, correct running technique, important strengthening exercises for your core, hips, and feet as a runner, key stretches and muscle release techniques and more.

Today, I wanted to review important steps as race day approaches:


Proper nutrition is critical throughout your entire training program, but even more important to pay very close attention to your nutrition as you approach race day.  The week before the event, make sure you’re consuming a diet rich in healthy, complex carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain pastas, oatmeal, quinoa etc), fruits and vegetables.  Also, critical to ultimate performance is to drink plenty of water heading into the event.  Drink water every chance you get and minimize your alcohol intake the week before!  Finally, avoid trying any food that is drastically new to your diet in the final week before race day.


You’ll also want to assure adequate sleep.  The amount of sleep you get the week before your event is more important than the night before.  Most athletes don’t sleep well the night before an important event which isn’t that important if the week before the event has been a restful one.  So go to bed at your regular time and make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Get Prepared:

Minimize any added stress on race day by preparing everything before race day.

  • Pick up your Goody bag ahead of race day so you can organize your racing bib, timing piece and review all important instructions.
  • Check out the weather and decide what you are going to wear and have it pulled out ready to go. Be sure to pull out a few options in case you change your mind. And have items you will wear on the way to the event and for warm-up and a change of clothes for afterwards so you can enjoy post-event festivities.
  • Remember vaseline or anti-friction lubricant so you can apply to any areas that are high risk for friction (ie. feet, underarms, inner thigh, nipples) during longer races.

It’s Race Day!

  • Your pre-race meal should contain easily digestible nutrients (ie. Energy bar, fruit, toast, oatmeal etc) and should be eaten 1-4 hours before the event.  Go with what you’re used to running on and definitely don’t eat anything new!  You don’t want any unexpected surprises or digestive upsets.
  • As you travel to the race, repeat some positive self-statements about how well you feel and how excited you are about the event.  Visualize yourself completing the event and achieving your goals. Put on some high energy, pumping tunes to psych yourself up!
  • Be sure to get there early enough so you have enough time to take care of any registration details, find out where the start line is, review the course map, warm-up, drink some water, listen for any pre-race instructions and go to the washroom (multiple times)
  • Be sure to spend 6-12 minutes warming up by either walking or doing a light jog around the venue and some gentle range of motion movements.
  • During the run, try to grab a drink of water every 10-15 minutes.  For longer events, you will need to consume some form of energy food, drink or gel to maintain adequate blood sugar levels but avoid consuming anything you haven’t tried before!
  • And finally, have fun.  Cheer on other racers. Enjoy the course and the fact that you are healthy enough to even participate!

See you at the finish line!

Note:  We are offering a FREE “Muscle & Tissue Release for Runners” workshop on Tuesday October 28th at 7:00pm at Northwest Personal Training, 1011 Broadway, Vancouver WA 98660.  Call 360.574.7292 to reserve your space. 

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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