Preparing for Race Day - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Preparing for Race Day

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With the Fargo Marathon just four days away runners should be getting prepared for race day, no matter what event they're running in.

Kendall Railing, with the sanford power center recommends the following tips for race week preparation:

Rest and Relaxation

Any training you do this week is not going to physically benefit you for the race ahead.  Yes, do a little running to stay loose, but for the most part, keep it easy.  It is better to be a pound undertrained than an ounce over-trained.   With the extra time you have this week, finish that book you have been reading for months, finish some light home projects you've put off, spend extra time with the kids, get a massage 3-4 days prior to the race, take a couple extra naps this week. 

Verify Race Registration and Time of Start

The last thing you want to deal with when picking up your race packet is to find out they don't have you registered.  Go to www.fargomarathon.com to verify you're registered.   Also, verify the start time of your race.  With several other events going on, you don't want to mistake your race time for another.

Trim your Toe Nails

This is important.  You're going to be on your feet for 2.5 hours to 7 hours.  This can prevent any lost toe nails or toe nails that are digging into another toe.  If you've ever run a marathon you know what I am talking about.  If this is your first, trust me on this one. Do this early in the week in case you accidentally cut one too short.  A sore toe pounding the pavement for hours won't leave you with a very good feeling about running another one.  

Clean your Kicks

Dig the pebbles out of the bottom of your shoes.  Take out your insoles and run your hand into your shoe and see if you feel anything in there.  Chances are you will find some tiny pebbles.   Inspect and clean your insoles.  Finally, check your shoe laces to make sure they are in good shape.  A broken shoe lace before the race will certainly send you into a frantic frenzy finding another lace. 

Download and Delete Data on your GPS

If you're using GPS to track mileage, splits, pace, time, etc… download all your data onto a computer and then delete the information from your watch.   It would be frustrating to have your watch let you know there is no more storage availability during your PR run.  Bring your watch to the Fargo Dome for packet pick up and allow your watch to pick up the satellites (very important if you're from out of town).  Fully charge your watch overnight.  Finally, when at the Fargo Dome in the morning, step outside early and give your watch a few extra minutes to pick up the satellites.  

Stock your SPI Belt

SPI Belt is an expandable band that can fit around your waist that allows you to carry needed nutrition, identification, music device, cash, credit card, and anything else you would like in there.  I have seen smart phones fit into them along with other personal necessities.   The nice thing about SPI Belt is that it provides nutrition when you want/need it and fits snug to your waist, keeping items from bouncing up and down in an annoying way.  Believe me, after 20 miles it won't take much to annoy you. 

Band Aids and Glide

Possibly a marathoner's best friend.   If you have problems with chaffing make sure to have some Glide or other product available to help prevent this (in your Spi Belt).  Chaffing can make for a miserable experience.  Band Aids are great if you have problems with your nipples chaffing and eventually bleeding.  This is more common that you think and a great way to ruin your favorite (or new) running shirt.

Pre-Race / Post-Race Bag

Be prepared for any kind of weather – hot, humid, cold, windy, wet, or a combination of any or all of them.  Remember this is North Dakota.   Pack pre-race snacks and fluids while you wait at the Fargo Dome.  Remember to pack warm, dry clothes for post race. 

Railing also recommends the following tips for race day preparation:

Night Before

Know the forecast for the entire day and plan your running attire accordingly.  Attach your bib the night before.  Put your timing chip onto the pair of shoes you'll be wearing for the run.   Once you're at the Fargo Dome it's too late to go back and get what you're missing so double, triple check that you have what you need before you walk out the door.   Hydrate throughout the day and evening.  Eat what makes you run your best.  Set 2 or 3 alarms for your wake up time.  Finally, get as much rest as you can. 

Fuel Up Early

Make sure to get some calories prior to the run.  Everyone has a certain time and certain comfort food they like to eat prior to running.  Remember food is fuel.   Also make sure to be hydrating.  A great way to tell if you are hydrated is the color of your urine.  If it is yellow, drink more water.  If it is clear, excellent.  Alternate water with a sports drink to provide some calorie and electrolytes.  

Arrive Early

With hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people converging on the Fargo Dome, have a plan to get to the Dome early.  As you're stopped in traffic on the interstate or a mile away from the Fargo Dome you can become a little anxious when your race starts in 30 minutes, especially when you still need to park, change, use the restroom, drop off your bag, and get to the start line.  Arrive early!!!

Know the Course

Yes 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles but when your unfamiliar with the course and the course is taking you further away from the finish line when all you want to do is get to the finish line it can be disheartening.  Best to know where you are going before you get there.   

Have a Race Plan(s)

Be realistic with yourself and your training.  Run the conditions and also at the level you've trained at.  Don't expect to run a PR in miserable conditions.  Have a Plan B (maybe even Plan C).  It is a good idea to carry some kind of ID or emergency contact information in case of an emergency.   I like to use a Spi Belt because it also holds some of my goodies without bouncing around.  Most likely there is a place on the back of your race bib to write it too.  Be careful what you write with.  If it is raining or your sweating (both could be likely), you don't want it running onto your favorite running shirt.   

Hot Weather

If it's going to be hot wear loose, wicking material.   A visor is better than a regular cap because it allows more heat to escape from the top of your head.  Sunglasses can prevent squinting and help with keeping relaxed.  Sweat resistant sun screen could be important if you are of fair skin and burn easy.  Don't forget the top of your head and your ears.  Alternate water with a sports drink, replacing sodium and other electrolytes.  Know the danger signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.   BE SMART about it.  No PR or finish is worth a possible life ending trip to the emergency room. 

Cold Weather

If it's going to be cold (this is a matter of personal perspective) a compression layer will keep you warmer.  Keep in mind you are going to heat up with running and the temperatures can change from cool to warm (even hot) as you progress in your run.  Have some foresight – know the forecast.  A little cold at the beginning is better than too hot during the run.  If it is cold while you are waiting for the start of the race, wear clothing that you wouldn't mind discarding (and never seeing again) when the race starts or if/when the weather heats up.

Post Race

Congratulations!!!  You Did it.  Now it is important to get some dry clothes on.  Your body temperature is going to drop quickly and dry clothes can keep your body temperature more stable.  Chow down on the race goodies and make sure to replenish your fluids with water, sports drinks, chocolate milk, etc….  AVOID alcohol after the race. 

If you have family or friends waiting to see you at the Fargo Dome, establish a location to meet them at.  With thousands of people at the Dome it can be challenging to find who you are looking for if you don't know where to look.

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