As of today we are officially t-minus four days away from the Dallas Rock n Roll Half Marathon, and I’m not quite sure where the time went, but I am pretty excited! This will be my fourth half marathon for the books, and now that I’ve gotten the hang out of it, I thought I would share some my personal to-do list of what to have ready and what to take care of the night before the big race! If there is anything that I am a fan of, it’s being prepared and making sure I have everything ready before a big event. Nothing relieves my anxiety more than know that I have it together (on a day to day basis maybe, in life…not so much), so I thought this list may also help if you who are prepping for a big race, or if you’re like me and just love a good ole checklist!
Do you have your race outfit picked out? Unlike my #TBT posts, I like to pick a race outfit that I won’t want to make fun of in 10 to 20 years, but more importantly, I like to stay away from an outfit I’ve never run in before. I’ve made the mistake of doing that latter and have learned the hard way that just because it sounded like a great idea in my head, didn’t mean it wouldn’t result in either being too warm, too cold, or severe blistering (and that’s how I learned which socks not to wear on race day). Trial and error occurs on my practice runs, and come the night before race day I choose pieces that I know I feel good in, and won’t cause any discomfort. I reccommend trying out your race outfit a few weeks in advance, just so you’re absolutely certain that you’ll be running in something comfortable and practical. Much like my first day of school from 1st grade to…well, college (tbh) I’ll pick out my outfit the night before and lay it out so it’s ready in the morning. Still waiting on Cher’s computer program from Clueless to pick an out outfit for me, but I’ll just doing it myself in the mean time. Also, I have probably mentioned that scene from Clueless more than anything else on this blog, and it probably deserves it’s own tag so we can keep count of how many times it shows up here.
- Foam Roll
Have you properly stretched? A foam roll, depending on it’s color, can look like a giant Little Debbie snack, but it is actually torture device created by someone born without pain tolerance. Sadly though, this torture device is actually the best thing that has ever happened to me in terms of warming up for a long run, and I absolutely swear by it. There is a thousand different stretches you can try with a foam roll, and personally I recommend foam rolling the night before a race, while you’re stretching in the morning, and after a race (this is when it will feel like an actual torture device, sorry!), but I super recommend checking out Sarah Fit’s foam roll tutorials on getting acquainted with a foam roller and has great tips on how to properly use it, and which stretches work best for whichever muscle you are targeting! Stretching at night before the race will not only help quell any pre-race anxiety, but it will also prevent injury. Two birds one stone!
Do you have your food and drink gear ready? The most important part of life food, and the best part of life is snacks. I like to always have a small baggie of energy/electrolyte chews with me on hand for a long distance run to help keep my momentum away, and the stomach growling at bay. I’ve also found that is works best to eat the chews at a water stop, because I learned the hard way that trying to swallow something with the consistency of a Fruit Gusher without water is pretty much a choking hazard. Hard to believe I didn’t know this already, but when you’re at mile 10 and you hear your stomach rumble, sometimes innate logic gets tossed out the window. For longer races, I’ll either wear a zip pouch that fits like a bracelet on my wrist, or go extremely low budget (or I forgot said zip pouch) and just tuck my bag of chews into my sports bra. Thankfully, I almost always get a small bag of chews with my Stridebox subscription, so they are always on hand! Much like how I put together my outfit the night before, I’ll pick whichever chews I’m taking and make sure those are out and ready to grab in the morning.
How bad are your feet? This is easily my most high maintenance suggestion, but as someone has the dexterity of a newborn when it comes to handling a nail polish brush, I have come to accept that I am wildly inept when it comes to maintaining my own nails. That being said, I’ve found I have better luck with toenail pain (which is pain I didn’t know was real until I started running) if I keep my nails short. One might be thinking, “Mallory, why not just cut and file your own nails?” to which I say, “Did you not read the first sentence of this paragraph?” Believe me, if I could do it myself, I totally would. However, in an effort to combat the issue, I like to go in for a pedicure one to two days prior to the big day and ask that my nails be cut short, and then for added bonus, opt for a fun color. Pedicures are a fun treat anyways, so it’s nice to sit and relax and try not to worry that the person handling your feet isn’t judging you too hard.
Feel free to check out my race recaps for how I got ready and prepared for my previous half marathons, and I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions in the comments! What races do you have coming up?