Race day tips for runners from Providence Sports Care Center
The Hood to Coast Relay is one of the most exciting running events in the Northwest. These race-day tips can help you enjoy your race instead of suffering through it.
- Do: Stick to your routine. You worked hard to get here. Race day is not a time to change your routine. Wear the gear you trained in. Eat and drink what fueled your training.
- Do: Know the course. Stay with your plan. Be familiar with the mileage, terrain and expected run times for the legs you are running. Race-day excitement can cause you to shoot out of the gate too fast. Running faster than you trained can lead to early fatigue and possible injury. Allow your team van to tell you to slow down if you are blazing out of the gate. This will help the team in the end. Mentally prepare for the mileage and elevation, and you’ll be better able to finish each leg strong.
- Do: Hydrate. Don’t: Overhydrate. Fluid intake is essential, but too much fluid can decrease performance and cause cramping and bloating. Excess water dilutes electrolytes, which are essential for regulating body systems. This can lead to serious performance issues, coma or death. Hydrate with water and a sports drink that agrees with your body.
- Don’t: Overindulge on food. If you follow rule No. 1, you won’t experiment with new foods on race day. Also, watch the amount of food you eat. Your body will be under enough stress. Don’t add extra work for your gastrointestinal system. Many runners fail to re-fuel after their run; others load up on too many calories. Restore glycogen with light meals consisting of complex carbohydrates (fruit, veggies) and protein. Stick with foods you know your body does well with.
- Do: Warm-up and cool down. Inadequate warm-ups lead to decreased performance, increased race-day jitters and increased chance of injury. Instead of statically stretching cold muscles, do a 5- to 10-minute warm-up before your run.
- Don’t: Ignore pain. Sore muscles and body ‘tweaks’ are part of activity and exercise. If you’re not able to run with your normal mechanics or if you have consistent, worsening pain, it’s time to back off or call it a day. See a physical therapist or doctor if joint pain lasts longer than two hours after your race.
- Do: Keep moving. Keep your body moving to continue logging those miles. Don’t sit in the van for long periods of time. Get out and cheer on other runners. This will help keep your legs and back from stiffening up before your next run. Massaging your legs is helpful, too. Get some sleep, but when you’re awake, keep moving so your muscles will be ready for your next leg.
For more information, contact the experts at Providence Sports Care Center.
We wish you all the best on race day!
Providence Sports Care Center (at Providence Park)
909 SW 18th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205