There’s not that much you need to do in preparation, but it’s worth making sure you do do the bits that are necessary.
1. Running nutrition
Think about when and what you’re going to eat on race day. You should stick to things that you have tried and tested before to avoid a surprise trip to the portaloo during the race. See What To Eat Before A Run for more info.
2. Not over-doing it
Be careful as well how much you eat and drink. Drinking twenty minutes before the start won’t hydrate you and will probably make you feel a little unwell. Similarly eating too much will have the food sitting uncomfortably in your stomach.
3. Packing for race day
Prepare the day before. Definitely, definitely don’t wake up and find that you don’t know where your bib is. Just lay it out ready and then you can sleep at least a little easier.
4. Knowing the course (& where it is)
You can know where water stations are, what terrain you’ll be running on, and where your supporters are waiting for you (make sure you know what they’re wearing so you can spot them better). Also just knowing how to get there in the morning will help destress you. Don’t start badly and turn up just before the race-gun goes off.
5. Working-out your own pace
Don’t get swept up in the moment and run faster than you can right at the beginning. It’s great if other runners end up motivating you, but not if you’re going to lag later on.
6. Pre-empting running injuries
Bring blister plasters and wear them if you’re worried. Apply vaseline/ Body Glide (everywhere) to stop chafing. Make sure you stretch — before and after. And have a recovery plan for right after. Knowing a couple more things about running injury prevention also can’t go amiss, so have a read up on How To Avoid Common Running Injuries.
7. The weather
Head to the local charity shop and buy some throw-away clothes if it’ll be cold the day of the race. You can chuck them off whenever you like that way, and you won’t need to start off freezing. Or if it’s going to be sunny be careful about suncream and staying hydrated.
8. Trimming your toenails
Don’t make holes in your expensive (worn in) running shoes. It’ll hurt and it’s so easy to avoid.
9. Running alone
A running group is great. But don’t let it throw you if you find yourself running alone on race day.
10. A running playlist
Be careful of your music choices. You don’t want the tempo to be too slow, or for that matter too fast. Choose one that matches your running speed so that it doesn’t disrupt your running speed.
11. Your running gear
It’s worth investing in a bit of good running gear. While it is meant to be a cheap sport you definitely want to spend a bit to save on dealing with running injuries. And it’s just generally more comfortable with the right gear. If you’re not sure what running gear to go for, have a look at Running Gear For Beginners.