7 Tips On How To Prepare For Your First Running Event

| Eliza Boyd

Sit down with Avid Runner, Eliza Boyd, to discuss her top tips for preparing for your first running event.

Congratulations, it's a week out from your first running race, you’ve trained so hard to get here! The final week before the race is so important to get right, so here are my non-negotiables to make sure I get the most out of myself during the race, which really is the final stride of a massive journey.

Selfie of Eliza Boyd running outside on a path next to a waterway and grass wearing polarized sports sunglasses and a matching set of brown sports bra and leggings
Selfie of Eliza Boyd running on the street squinting into the sun wearing a white singlet and black shorts
Selfie of Eliza Boyd in her living room cocking her head to one side wearing a black vest, long sleeve top and leggings
Selfie of Eliza Boyd running on a street sidewalk smiling at the camera wearing a black vest, long sleeve top, leggings and white sneakers

1. Tapering

Tapering off your training helps your body recover from the cumulative fatigue you've built up throughout your training block, whilst maintaining, or even increasing your fitness levels. Your final taper week before the race day is your opportunity to get your body ready.

2. Hydration is Key

Keeping your hydration levels up the week before and the morning of your race is crucial, especially on those longer distance runs. Going into a race dehydrated can result in an increased heart rate, accelerated fatigue, and impair your running performance. It can also be extremely dangerous if you're running a long distance race dehydrated. I recommend having electrolytes every day the week leading into and the morning of the race to avoid dehydration.

3. Carbs, Carbs, CARBS!

Carb loading is another important component of your race day prep, only if you're entering a race that will take you longer than 90 minutes. Ideally, you should start carb loading 3-7 days before the race day, so you have increased glycogen available for your body to use as energy throughout the run. The number of carbs you should eat ranges from 5-12 grams per kg of body weight per day. I also like to take glycogen gels or snacks on my long runs to top up my levels throughout the race. Generally, I have one every half hour during a half or full marathon. I would only recommend this if you've been practicing with them.

4. Prioritise Your Sleep

Sleep absolutely needs to be a priority the week of race day. Sleep will have you feeling fresh and recovered and keep your energy levels high.

5. Race Day Playlist!

I have my playlist curated by this stage in my training, but the final important step is to have that playlist downloaded on your phone just in case there are service issues on the day. Music helps me stay focused and keeps me in a positive mindset, allowing me to push hard on the day.

6. Prepare Your Bag

I always pack my bag the day before race day. My must-haves are a fresh change of clothes and shoes, a water bottle for before and after, snacks & gels and I always have my running outfit laid out ready for the morning. Check over all the event details to feel ready for the day and know the plan when you arrive – where to drop your bag, where the toilets are located (IYKYK), and where the starting line is.

7. Enjoy It

My most important preparation tip is to remind yourself of all the hard work you've put in over the training block. Take in the incredible atmosphere on the day and stick to your pace plan. And remember – don't try anything new on race day!

**Please note this has been written on personal experience. Please consult your doctor or health advisor for medical advice or guidance.