Last Minute Race Advice

in Zooma

I had a wonderful run this morning!  My Garmin was dead, and I went off my normal path to explore some new streets.  When I got home, I used Google Earth to map my run and discovered that I did about 4.0 miles.  Wahoo.

photo 1

All in all, I’m feeling really good about my upcoming half marathon (I’m running the ZOOMA Florida Half as a Race Ambassador in January).  I have high hopes that I’ll be able to put in a decent time and not feel dead on my feet when I cross the finish line.  Goals, people!  Goals!  I am looking forward to extending my long runs more – it feels really good to get into that double-digit territory and really KNOW that you can handle the long distance.

photo 2

If you’re in Florida and a newbie runner, here’s a fun opportunity to run the ZOOMA 5K for free.


Actually, as part of my involvement with ZOOMA, I’ll be speaking at the expo (with Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers).  We’ve decided to do a presentation about ‘real world last minute race advice.’  You know – all the do’s and do not’s that most of us learn the hard (and painful or bloody or hitting-the-wall) way.


For example:


  • That time that I ‘didn’t have enough time’ to go to the bathroom before a long run?  Yeah.  You really, really should make enough time for that, unless you want to find yourself creepin’ behind a bush at 6:30 AM.
  • Even though that dirty martini looks really, really tasty, you probably should not drink a lot the night before a race.  Or really at all if you’re a wuss like me who gets a hangover just by looking at a bottle of wine.
  • Do not buy new socks at a race expo and wear them for the race.
  • Do not start off too fast.
  • Do not train at an 11:00/mile pace and decide to run the race at 7:30/mile.  Nevergonnahappen.
  • Do not eat Chickpea Masala from the Whole Foods hot bar the night before a race.  (Remember this post?)


So – what’s your last minute race advice?  Any chickpea masala horror stories?!



  • Katie D. November 28, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Make a meeting place plan BEFORE the race! As I was starting a 25k, I saw my hubby on the side and tried to tell him where to meet me once I finished. Yeah, didn’t work so well and we ended up wandering around in 6,000 people in a windy, cold, rainy day for far too long. We both were on the verge of panacking, it was not good 🙁

    • Eliza November 29, 2012, 8:59 am

      Sounds awful, Katie! I didn’t think I had any advice, but your comment jogged (pun, ha ha ha) my memory. If you’re planning to run with someone (or at least start with them) – don’t split up for any reason beforehand, unless the race is very small! My husband and I ran the Gate River Run 15k in Jacksonville in 2009, and I think there were at least 10,000 people running. After we arrived, he ended up having to go back to the car for something. Needless to say, we couldn’t find each other and ended up starting separately and did not see one another until long after the race was over! I almost started panicking but then figured I would laugh it off and have some “me” time (in the largest crowd I’d ever been in!) 🙂

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action November 28, 2012, 3:04 pm

    I love how many runners have stories about peeing in bushes! It’s clearly a very common theme.

  • Elizabeth November 28, 2012, 3:05 pm

    That made me chuckle. I had the WORST race week before my first half it was a disaster. Tuesday=up all night with food poisoning. Wednesday=home sick unable to eat. Thursday=only kept down saltines. Friday=up at 3 am for travel, “dinner” with friends, but I only had appetite for fries for some reason. Saturday was relatively normal. The morning of the race, I woke up at 3, NO COFFEE where I was staying and because of afformentioned food poisoning, I didn’t get to do my normal ‘routine’ I wanted to die during the race.

    I would suggest no new foods for like a week before the race.

  • Ali November 28, 2012, 3:05 pm

    Make sure your mp3 is charged! Fell into that trap at my first race. Longest. Race. Ever.
    Know the route in case the course isn’t well marked.

    I 110% agree with don’t get too excited and start out too fast! Save some fuel in the tank!

  • Kristy November 28, 2012, 3:18 pm

    1. Set two alarms, just in case. If you’re like me, you only wake up that early for races and oversleeping is a definite possibility.
    2. Sit out your running outfit, shoes, socks, bib…everything the night before so getting ready is a piece of cake.

    No food horror stories as of yet, but I have overslept by accident and have drank a few too many the night before- never a good idea!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats November 28, 2012, 3:19 pm

    Hahhahahaha I love your drawing at the end! When I’m out with friends or family the night before the race I’m always tempted to have some wine, but I just remind myself it will be so much better AFTER the race! (along with any Indian food…)

  • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution November 28, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Don’t underestimate the power of Immodium. Haha!

    But yeah, don’t start out too fast, don’t start out too fast, DO NOT start out too fast. I’ve always paced myself at the beginning of races, and my last half marathon I started out fast and pushed my pace. I had severe knee pain by mile 8, was laying on the ground crying with my worried fiance looking on at mile 9, and then mostly walked miles 10, 11 and 12. I finished strong though!!!

    Consider a throwaway layer (a garbage bag with arm holes and a head hole works well) if it’s cold, don’t eat a huge meal the night before (carbo load the night before the night before) and speaking of the night before the night before — make that a really good night’s sleep so if you’re restless the night before the race it won’t matter as much.

  • Emily @ Emily Eats and Runs November 28, 2012, 3:24 pm

    The sock tip is a good one! I wore a new pair of socks for a 10K I did last year, and they slid down and bothered me the whole time!

    My tip would be to make sure you eat just enough before a race. I like having a small bowl of cereal and a banana about 60 to 90 minutes before the start. Too much will leave you feeling sluggish; too little and your stomach will be growling by the end of the race!

  • Laura @ She Eats Well November 28, 2012, 3:51 pm

    Do not eat a ton of weird new foods at the Expo the day before the race…or be tempted to buy some sort of hydrating liquid. The best advice for races is to always treat the race day the same as a practice run! Don’t do anything new!

  • Bianca November 28, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Wow, I just realized how long I’ve been reading your blog-I remember that original post.

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt November 28, 2012, 4:28 pm

    ahahah I know what you mean about a lot of those bullet points!! That sounds like it’s going to be a great presentation, wish I could listen live!

  • Tracey November 28, 2012, 4:43 pm

    My first race was in high school…a cross country 5K. I’m guessing with it being such a new experience for my body, all that adrenaline going, I lost all control of my bowels and pretty much peed down my leg the entire last 1/2 mile. I was mortified, but it forced me to be sure I used the restroom before each race. 🙂

  • Rachel November 28, 2012, 5:43 pm

    Don’t eat several slices of greasy pizza and multiple cookies the night before a 5k. I ended up running the 5k at a slower pace per mile than the half marathon I’d done a few weeks before, haha! I apparently do NOT have a stomach of steel. 🙂

  • Sonia the Mexigarian November 28, 2012, 6:16 pm

    Research the area of where the race will be held, like nearby streets etc and double check for road closures. Wake up early just in case for traffic.

    My first 1/2 RnRSJ, traffic was backed up on 2 freeways trying to get to the one exit for parking. People, like me, ended up jumping out of their cars [luckily, the husband took over driving at this point] and ran down the closed exit ramp to get to the start line in time. It was a good warm up 🙂

    Definitely don’t try to eat or wear anything new for the race or race week.

  • Jack Sh*t November 28, 2012, 7:24 pm

    Good luck with the run and the presentation. Here’s some advice: for the run, just start off really fast, run fast through the middle and then finish really fast. As for the presentation, you should probably just read some stuff from my blog. You’re welcome!

  • Bridget November 28, 2012, 8:08 pm

    Cut your toenails. Even on a 10 mile run they feel fine but for a half, one of them will fall off. Cut them.

  • Amy @ Juice Boxes + Crayolas November 28, 2012, 8:32 pm

    Turn on your Garmin early and give it enough time to find satellites before the start of the race so you’re not in a panic that it’s still searching when the gun goes off!!

  • MrsCourtneyP November 29, 2012, 8:33 am

    My Garmin died last week and I had to “GPS-less” and had a mini heart attack. I carefully calculated how many laps around my neighborhood it usually takes to run 3 miles. Then my husband shook his head at me and was like, “Just go run.”

    Such simple advice, yet so powerful.

    I just told myself, “I’ll run for 25 minutes. Then I’m done-zo.”

    Best run ever.

    I’ve considered going watchless at least once a week just because it reminds me of how carefree and fun running can be when you don’t put expectations or perimeters on the workout.

  • Eliza November 29, 2012, 8:52 am

    Hahah I love Bridget’s toenail advice. Amen sista!!

    I don’t have any excellent race advice of my own, but wanted to let you know that you and Julie @ PBF are the ONLY two blogs I read on a daily basis. I love you both!

  • Kristen November 29, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Julie & Caitlin speaking together?! My two favorite bloggers 🙂 wish I lived in Florida to see you both together!

  • mb November 29, 2012, 1:00 pm

    i also get TERRIBLE hangovers, but some of my best races are after a night of a few beers, and by few, i mean 2 max. i’m not the only one – my dad had the best race of his life after drinking 5 beers the night before 🙂

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