If you’ve been putting in the hard work during your weekly runs and any other fitness activities you’re doing and are about to participate in your first race, there are some important tips that you should remember to make sure it’s a success. If you’ve been using one of Zen Lab’s trainers for helping you complete your race training, you should be feeling quite prepared to tackle the challenge ahead.

The following tips will help you make the most of it.

Do a Trial Run A Week Before
First, if you happen to live around the area where you will be doing the race, it’s a very helpful strategy to do a trial run about a week before.

Running on the actual course the race will be held helps you gain experience with the road and distance and gain the confidence you need to complete it.

Even if you don’t run the full length of the race to avoid fatiguing yourself during the training protocol, getting out to the location can prove to be very beneficial come race day.

For many runners, it’s the confidence in their own capability and the environment that tends to shake them up the most, not their lack of fitness preparation.

Don’t Change Your Pre-Run Meal
Next, on the morning of the race, you want to make absolutely sure you aren’t changing the meal that you’re eating. If you opt for something totally new – say you decide to carb load the morning before the race, you’ll be setting yourself up for problems.

Use the time leading up to the race to learn your body and what it responds best to. Then do the exact same thing the day of the race that you’ve found to work so well.

One of the biggest mistakes too many runners make is trying a new food, adding more food, or using a different supplement than they’ve ever used before.
If you haven’t tested it pre-race, simply don’t do it. Now is not the time to make any sort of changes.

Get Everything Ready The Night Before
Another smart step to take if you can is to get everything you need for race day ready the night before. This includes your clothing, your meals, your during-race fuel if you’re using some, and anything else you can think of.

When you wake up the morning of the race, you want to be focused on the race at hand. Not running around frantically aiming to pick up everything you need.

That will just distract your focus and the result could be a lower performance. You also want to make sure you show up to the race with plenty of time to spare as any sort of feeling of being rushed for time is excess stress you just don’t want.

Mentally Vision Success
One technique that some runners will benefit from is visualizations. With this technique, you want to actually visualize yourself crossing the finish line and completely the course problem-free. If you see this in your mind, it will give you a confidence boost so come race day, you have a higher belief in yourself.

Many professional athletes use visualizations to help encourage the best performance, so you can now use the same technique as well for your first race.

Practice Some Meditation/Deep Breathing The Night Before The Race
If you’re the nervous type, you could be feeling some butterflies in your stomach the night before. This can be especially problematic because it could then keep you awake at night, leading to a very poor sleep quality, causing fatigue the next day.

Many runners do struggle with getting a good night’s rest the evening before the run, so doing everything you can to ensure this doesn’t become a problem for you will be critical.

Sometimes some meditation or just simply deep breathing can help calm those nerves and make you feel more calm, cool, and collected.
Do this ten to fifteen minutes before you go to sleep and see the difference it makes.

Remember To Enjoy The Process
Finally, last but not least, make sure you are enjoying the process. Don’t get so hung up on doing everything ‘perfect’.

During your first race, there’s a very good chance it won’t be entirely perfect and that’s completely okay. The first race is a learning experience and is meant to be enjoyed. If you enjoy it, you can rest assured that this will just be the first race in a long series of races to come.

Was this helpful? Please share your race day advice below!