race preparation

Race Preparation

Things you need to know before your first race that are not to do with training

In the days before a race, particularly a long one, make sure you eat well and drink more water than normal. On the last day, it’s probably better not to eat curry or anything that may upset your digestion, but don’t take the idea of ‘carb loading’ to extremes. A good meal of something easily digestible, such as pasta, chicken, jacket potato etc. is fine. No alcohol would be ideal, but in the real world, one drink won’t affect your performance and may help you to relax.

Put ready everything you will need the day before:

  • Number, race pack & Timing chip (if you have them), and pins to attach the number to your shirt.
  • Club shirt/vest – take alternatives if you have them, and layers depending on the temperature.
  • Sun cream and hat if appropriate
  • Waterproofs, fleece, trousers etc for after the race. A bin bag with a hole for your head makes a good disposable cover-up if the weather is bad while you wait at the start.
  • Drinks and snacks for before, during and after the race, as appropriate. You may not know what works for you until you have done a race or two, but more experienced runners can advise. There will be water stations on most races, and certainly 10k and above, but many runners prefer to carry their own water or hydration drink. On longer races you might want to carry gel sachets, jelly babies etc. Practice what eating and drinking routine works for you on your training runs
  • Tissues (toilet roll, just in case!) and
  • Wet wipes/towel if it’s rainy, muddy, and/or you want to go to the pub afterwards!

Make sure you know where the registration and start are. Plan your journey. You will need to allow time for:

  • travelling (plus as much spare as makes you comfortable that you won’t be late),


  • registration,
  • getting from the car to the start,
  • trips to the loo, which will involve queuing

Get an early night if you can. Sleep is the best preparation, whatever training you have done beforehand.

Assuming it is a morning race, get up in plenty of time to:

  • Drink juice, tea, coffee, as normal
  • Eat some breakfast – what you have is up to you, but for longer races things like porridge, banana, yoghurt, wholemeal toast, peanut butter, honey will keep your fuel stores topped up. 2 hours before the start is ideal.

Continue to drink small amounts of water/hydration drink until the start of the race.

At the start don’t stand too near the front of the pack of runners. You will probably start off too fast, and may get in the way of faster runners. It’s better to overtake people if you find you are faster than they are when everyone settles into their race pace.

Be careful if there is a narrow path near the start where you could be held up by slower runners, or could get in the way of faster ones. Also, be careful to avoid falling over in the jostle at the start or through running too close behind others, especially over rough terrain.

Hydration and Nutrition for Long Distance Athletes

A thank you for this information to: Lynsey Wilson

General Training Diet

The general diet should consist of:

  • 60% Carbohydrates (CHO, mainly low GI = pasta, potato, bread, brown/wholegrain if possible)
  • 20% Protein (mainly from meat, but also from vegetables such as spinach, broccoli)
  • 20% Fat

Immediately post training (within 2 hours) try to consume high GI foods (jelly, lucozade, jaffa cakes etc) containing 50g of carbohydrate.

Keep hydrated during training by consuming a standard bottle of water 2-3 hours prior to exercising and half a bottle of sports drink/water 30mins prior to exercising. Try to consume a standard sports drink/water during every 30 mins of exercise. Post exercise; try to consume the same amount of fluid that has been lost during exercise through sweating by drinking a sports drink/water with added glucose and salt (6 – 8% CHO).

To determine a drink’s percentage CHO, divide the CHO content (g) by the fluid volume (mL) and multiply by 100. E.g. Lucozade sport has 32g CHO ÷ 500mL = 0.064 x 100 = 6.4%.

To determine g/kg body weight simply multiply g by body weight (kg). Eg. 10g of CHO of a 70kg person = 10 x 70 = 700g CHO per day.


There should be a window between 36 – 48 hours between your last exercise session and the event in which you should ‘Carbo load’ (10 – 12g CHO per kg body weight per day) and rest. The 24 hours prior to the event may focus on low-fibre and low-residue eating if gastrointestinal stress is a problem.

  • 3 – 4 hrs pre-race breakfast containing 1.4g per kg body weight CHO
  • 3 hours pre-race – 250ml water
  • 1 hr pre-race 1L sports drink mixed with 3mg/kg body weight of pure caffeine and 300mg/kg body weight bicarbonate

During Event

  • 250mL fluid every 15 mins containing 5 – 8% CHO and ¼ teaspoon salt


0 –2 hours post-race: Consume 1 – 1.2g/kg body weight CHO immediately after exercise and repeat every hour until meal schedule is resumed. Achieve this by consuming small snacks, such as jelly, jaffa cakes, jelly sweets, every 15-20mins. Rehydrate with a sports drink with added salt, replenishing all sweat loss.

2hrs – next training session: Consume 7 – 12g per kg body weight per day CHO. Consume 1.2 – 1.6g per kg body weight per day Protein vente libre viagra.

A PDF document of the slides for the Armada Athletic Forum Workshop on Nutrition and Hydration for Athletics presented by our club member Lynsey Wilson (MSc, BSc, ISAK): Nutrition and Hydration for Athletics (PDF)