What should I do to prepare in the days and hours before a 3.6 mile race?
March 5, 2004 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm running in a 3.6 mile cross country race on Wednesday. It'll be my first proper race since I started running a few months ago. What should I do to prepare in the days and hours before it starts, e.g. food, drink, etc? (more inside)

It's actually a four man relay race, with each leg being 3.6 miles long, starting at 2pm. The course is fast and flat (PDF map), and interestingly starts at the site of the first sub-four minute mile (the Iffley Road track in Oxford). I can run 4 miles in around 32 minutes pretty consistently. What say you, gentlemen?!
posted by adrianhon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
that's a very respectable pace over that distance if you only started a few months ago. i'd suggest a late, light breafast. warm up before the race with a bit of stretching and jogging. you're not going to improve between now and wednesday, so just take care not to over-exert yourself when you go running in the days before (if anything, reduce distances and speeds).

i should add that although i've run for years i've never done so in a race. the above is just from "the competitive runners handbook", which i'd recommend (from memory - i just lent it to a friend).

good luck and i hope the weather is ok.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:56 AM on March 5, 2004

It'll be my first proper race since I started running a few months ago.
Not sure if are trying to "win", keep in mind your adrenalin will be flowing, don't take off too fast as you have 3 more miles to go. And if you have trained adequately, your adrenalin will kick in at the for your runner's kick.

What time of the day did you train? I ask as being a 2pm race you should wake up early so your body is fully alert, biorhythms. Also in your warm up, do some full speed sprints, maybe a couple 100m, again if you have trained your adrenalin will help you. Why do this, because your body can not reach its full maximum speed unless you have pushed yourself in a prior attempt.

Add as mentioned above, lots of stretching even more if it's warm out, as that was when I wittinessed the most muscle pulls.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:43 AM on March 5, 2004

marines shoot for 3 miles in 18 minutes, if you were curious.

andrew cooke is spot on. breakfast on that day should be lots of carbs, maybe a banana for potassium but that tends to sit pretty heavily on your stomach..it's up to you.

drink a TON of water starting about 30 hours before the race. it's not good enough to just drink water before the race...cause it won't hydrate you enough and you'll just have to pee. drink a lot of water before hand, and then moderate amounts before the race. get all your peeing water out of your system....in fact, if you're peeing clear before the race, then that's your sign that you're hydrated enough.
posted by taumeson at 10:43 AM on March 5, 2004

will kick in at the for your runner's kick.

Good luck, Go adrianhon!!!
posted by thomcatspike at 10:44 AM on March 5, 2004

Also, eat pasta the day and night before the race was always recommended when I ran Cross Country. Those carbohydrates come in use! Also, watch our for the fibery food the morning of the race as too much can have adverse effects on your bowels (yes, I know this from first-hand experience, on a half-marathon no less). And 18 minutes for 3 miles is about 18:30 for a 5K, which was lettering time at my high school and I think was tied for the hardest lettering time in the state. Anyone who can run a 5K in under 18 minutes is in magnificent shape, as a marine ought to be.
posted by jmd82 at 10:52 AM on March 5, 2004

Good luck, Adrian (I am no sportsman & have nothing to add)!

Did u get my email?
posted by dash_slot- at 10:54 AM on March 5, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, everyone! I'll be sure to drink a lot of water, eat carbs and watch my breakfast. In response to thomcatspike, I normally exercise in the late morning or mid-afternoon, so 2pm is a bit earlier than when I would normally go.

Dash: Yes I did, thanks for the advice and when I become slightly less busy I will start thinking about organising another UK meetup (unless someone else wants to do it).
posted by adrianhon at 12:10 PM on March 5, 2004

If you aren't used to racing around other people, concentrate on your pace and how you'll keep track during the race. You don't want to run too fast or too slow because of the other runners and screw up your time. For example, I used to run a lot of 5Ks, and I'd always have to adjust early on to get around the crowds, and then make up for it later on.

drink a TON of water starting about 30 hours before the race.

I'd be careful about this if you aren't used to drinking a lot of water before working out. YMMV, but I've never liked the feeling of water sloshing around in my stomach. I'd rather be a little dehrydated at the end than sick and bloated in the middle.
posted by subgenius at 11:08 PM on March 5, 2004

If you're the first person, the start will suck. I usually start at the back of the pack, since it's easier to pass people than get passed blind.
posted by smackfu at 3:24 PM on March 6, 2004

Response by poster: I did it in 27 minutes! Not a bad time, I think. I could've improved on it by as much as a minute if I picked up the pace at the end, but there you go. I wrote a post on my weblog about the race if anyone is interested.
posted by adrianhon at 11:28 AM on March 10, 2004

adrianhon, Good show!
posted by thomcatspike at 2:14 PM on March 12, 2004

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