Haunted Half Marathons and Turkey Trots are just around the corner and some new runners may be wondering what to expect for their upcoming race.
Here are some race day tips for any new runners attempting their first race in the next few weeks.
Remember that many runners struggle mentally with the task at hand
Many experienced runners, such as Olympic Marathon trial competitor Teal Burrell, have found themselves in the position of wanting to drop out of the race they signed up for.
“Everybody is struggling with the same mental battle of, ‘This is really hard. I’m not gonna get through this,’” Burrell said, according to The Washington Post. “I wish I had known that. It’s just like a universal truth of marathoning.”
Julie Sapper, certified coach of Road Runners Club of America, said she wished she understood this concept as well.
“I think during the race, I was surprised by the pain, and I never experienced so much discomfort in my life through an athletic pursuit,” Sapper said. “And it really scared me for a little bit. Whereas now I understand that that’s part of the experience, that you feel discomfort.”
Have confidence in yourself to finish the race
According to marathon runner Sam Reynolds, you’re never quite prepared all the way to run a marathon and it’s important to trust yourself to finish.
“I was well prepared for my first marathon. I knew what to expect pretty much at every point in the race. And despite all that, I was still surprised at every step right until the finish. A marathon is like parenting, no amount of preparation truly prepares you,” Reynolds told Runner’s World.
Pace yourself until Mile 20
The most important thing about crossing the finish line is pacing yourself in order to avoid hitting the wall.
The Marathon Handbook says hitting the wall is “when your body has run out of fuel and to conserve energy, forces you to run slower.”
“Be patient. Mile 16, you still got 10 miles to go,” Olympian Meb Keflezighi said. He explained that a runner can choose to switch things up around Mile 20, when the race is almost over.
Consume more carbohydrates and electrolytes than normal
When running at the pace of a marathon, most people need extra glucose in order to gain energy, rather than fat, Sweat Elite reports.
According to Joe’s Gotta Run, 600 grams of glycogen can be held within the human body and can give a runner between 90 minutes and 2 hours of running time before they “hit the wall.”
Use the 20 degrees rule in dressing for your Turkey Trot
Prepare your mantras and prepare your wardrobe. How you dress does affect your performance in the races, and the 20 degrees rule can help you plan.
Marathon runner Tony Reed said, “If you look at what the temperature is going to be when you finish the marathon and add 20 degrees to it, that is the way you’re supposed to dress.”
Runnersworld reported that sometimes how fast you run can affect this rule, but most of the time, the 20 degrees rule works for everyone.
Hydration stations are important, but can be a challenge
There will be stations along the route where runners can stop and get water, but be warned: they are usually chaotic.
Precision Hydration reported that in order to plan for this, people need to get in line for the water on the correct side of the road, slow down, look the person in the eye who is handing you the cup of water and avoid rushing out of there.
If a new runner is not inclined to use the water stations, bring disposable water bottles for the beginning miles of the race.