The Bolder Boulder is one week away. You’ve trained as hard as you could have the past few weeks, and now the race that seemed an eternity away is right around the corner. To make sure you put all your training to use on race day, we asked our athletes what their greatest pre−race/pre−race week advice is. Their answers fell in to one of three categories:
- Have a plan that you know like the back of your hand
- If your plan goes awry, don’t panic: Be Flexible
- Trust your training
Have a Plan
Make your plan. Know what you can and can’t eat before a race and make sure you have those items in your house race morning. Know how early you need to wake up, how early you need to leave your house, where to park, and be prepared in case you have to walk a long way to the start line. Always make sure you arrive early enough to get in your warm up routine and use the restroom.
Lay out exactly what you’re going to wear the night before with your bib. Make sure you have enough layers for warming up if it’s going to be a cool morning, and have your tested and trusted running shoes and socks ready to go.
Have a warm up and race plan. Plan to do the same stretches and warm up routine you practiced in your training. For the race, if you can run the race course a week to a few days before the race, you’ll know exactly where the hills are, the long straightaways, the turns, the mile markers, etc. This will help you draft a race day plan. Decide whether you want to go out hard or conservative, when you want to push, and when you want to start your finishing kick.
Once you have your plan, visualize your race day, from the time you wake up until you cross the line. Try to do this every day in training, but especially as you get closer to the race. As you start to know what race day might look like (weather, bib number and wave, what you’ll wear, etc) get more detailed in your visualizations.Once you’ve established your race plan, stick with it and don’t get sucked in to the hype. If your plan is to start conservatively and gradually start picking it up after half way then resist the urge to start fast as many people will as soon as the gun goes off.
Sometimes race day does not go as planned and that’s okay. You find out your roommate ate your planned race morning breakfast? There are plenty of ways to fuel the body, and you’ll be able to run just as well off another similar breakfast.
If your race plan starts to fall apart, stay relaxed and stay positive. Adjust your strategy and focus on trying to pass someone right in front of you or getting through one mile at a time.
Breaking the race in to smaller segments will help you maintain control over your effort no matter what happened during the prior mile. Imagine each mile marker as a way to start new if your plan is not working out. Don't sprint mile 3 to make up for a slow mile 2, but be flexible with your pace and get back to the plan as best you can.
Trust Your Training
As the saying goes, the hay is in the barn, and you’re ready to roll. Believe in yourself and your fitness. It’s time to show off all that hard work you’ve been doing!
While a coach is usually there to write your workouts and guide your training, your coach can also motivate you and reaffirm your fitness and race day plan. Talk with your coach about your plan and stick to it.
Whether you are an elite athlete, an age grouper shooting for a PR, or doing a race like Bolder Boulder to motivate you to longer distances, following these guidelines will help you make the most out of your race. However, the most important guideline is to have fun. The Bolder Boulder is one of the most iconic races in the nation, so soak up the entire experience. And if you can get Maggie to do a pre−race dance routine in the car that's a bonus. :)