Not too long ago I wrote a post about a bunch of tips I have gained from running events in the last year, whilst being very aware I still had many more in my noggin’ and will do in the future too. When it comes to training for and taking part in a running event there is more to it then simply training hard and eating well- there’s the mental side, the little pedantic preparing details, the anticipation and ten things I have learnt written below!
1. The “Are my laces tied up well enough?!” panic. One of my biggest pieces of advice to myself on event day is that Kat, you just must check how securely fastened your laces are about ten minutes before the run starts. Even if they are tied up super well, if I don’t redo them ten minutes or so before the run (or, well, close to the run) I’ll spend too much time during the run fearing that they will undo and I’ll have to waste time doing them up (which is not a nice fear to have)! Equally I must start checking days before the event that the laces are adequate and don’t need changing.
2. Preparation. Preparing what I am going to wear (as in absolutely everything I need clothing-wise) is far more relaxing when I have it done at least a whole 24 hours before Event Day arrives. My most important kit list parts include all of the clothing, the running number and chip and safety pins!
3. Research. From where the run is exactly starting to the time it starts and any individual qualities (hills, headwind etc), I have learnt the importance of researching about events. Sometimes I have preferred surprises in terms of headwind and hills but since I anticipate events less than I have done in the past, I’d much rather feel prepared now.
4. Toilets! Even though I should be hydration-conscious every day, I am most aware of the importance of hydration around the race… Which means I am also toilet-conscious when it comes to Event Day. For some unbeknown reason to me I would never use the portable toilets despite definitely needing to. I have now learnt to just use the portable toilets no matter what- they’re really not that bad anyway!
5. Shingle. Since my last Event Day I have been including running on shingle in my runs a bit more- although not too much; it’s not a fun experience. Since a lot of my runs involve the seaside because I live on the coast, I have been surprised a few times by the fact a run involved shingle- especially last time. I have been able to learn characteristics of a few runs and have trained accordingly beforehand and I need to start always doing this.
6. Supporters. When it comes to have supporters, I adore having friends and family there! However it can cause me nerves when I think about it whilst running. I do take Event Day pretty seriously because I want to do my best and have done my best when I’ve not built myself up to seeing friends or family around the course.
7. Event Day essentials. I haven’t yet put this into practice but I aiim to start thinking out what I may need throughout the event a bit more. I want to make sure anyone watching can store a banana and maybe a smoothie drink in their bag or if I’m using a bag drop, I can put essentials in there! This way I can look forward to some food after the run!
8. Event material. I’ve not actually had a problem yet but that doesn’t mean I won’t. I don’t actually check my envelope of “stuff for Event Day” very well before Event Day itself. Which is particularly dumb. I need to get a bit more organised and insure I have everything I need as well as filling out the emergency details as soon as possible!
9. Listen to your body. I’ve learnt to listen to my body far more recently. I used to absolutely sprint my heart out no matter what when it came to the last part of a run. Now, if my body is screaming “PLEASE DON’T!”, I don’t! And this applies to other parts of the race too. I’ll be aiming to get sub nine minute miles in a race and I choose to stay slower than planned if I’m not feeling up for a sub nine mile at about seven/eight minutes!
10. Use positive energy! It’s corny, but the marshals’ cheers always make me feel better, as do the crowds and the runners too! Importantly, I find, when I’m feeling a bit “meh” during a run, seeing a family cheer on their relative easily makes me smile… which makes me feel better!
“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it,” – Oprah Winfrey.
~ Kat ~