Super Last-minute Race Prep

May 7, 2016

It’s fair to say I’m pretty ‘eleventh hour’ about everything in most aspects of my life. Deadlines, packing, planning, and decision making all happen at the very last minute, which probably does nothing for my stress levels. On that note, my half marathon race prep tends to happen the night before, rather than the month/ week prior, like all the guides advise. Obviously, my training starts a little earlier (!) but everything else very much happens in the 24 hours that lead up to the race (and even that is being generous), so I thought, in case you’re anything like me, that I’d do a little run down of last minute race prep (that if you’re reading this before Hackney Half on Sunday, you’ve still got time to do!)

Got your socks?
I tend to find the right socks make a big difference to comfort and blisters. If you haven't already, go out and find yourself a pair of running socks — which are basically just normal socks that are more padded in the areas you need them to be. Effective though!
Wash your kit!
Nothing worse than waking up on race day morning and realising your favourite sports bra/ shorts/ crew t-shirt is in the wash. Get it ready NOW so it's fresh and dry for the morning.
Buy bandages and straps
If you're running with injuries (minor ones I hope!) make sure you've got the right straps and bandages you need in advance. Races are usually on Sundays are start early, so you've little to no chance of being able to pick up any on the way.
Buy energy gels
Everyone has their own mid-run fuelling techniques but I personally swear by energy gels, and carry two for a 21km race. Buy them in advance so you've got them (though you can usually pick them up from one of the tents at the start line too).
 Charge your phone
Sounds like an obvious one, but with everything else going on, it's an easy one to forget. Make sure you put your phone on charge overnight before the race. If you run with music like me, and Nike+ running too, you're going to need a lot of juice — especially for all those selfies afterwards too 😉
Vaseline everything

I tend to strip down into my sports bra on most summer time races after getting too hot, and religiously find myself in pain where my upper arms chafe against my body - it's weird! The trick: Vaseline. Vaseline everything: lips, underarms, nipples (boys), inner thighs maybe. Sounds gross but it's worth it.

Cut your toe nails
An important one! Cut your toe nails so they're short and don't rub (otherwise can lead to problems afterwards — I'm speaking from experience!). There are going to be times when your race feels pretty uncomfortable, you don't need any further discomfort.
Find safety pins

Aha! The one you always forget: safety pins for your bib! Some nice race organisers include them in the bib envelope, but many don't. And they're not so easy to find around the house when you need them. Check if you've got them in your envelope, otherwise get out and buy, beg or borrow 4 right now.

Paint your nails

Okay, less vital. But it's nice to look and feel nice — especially when you're going to be a sweaty mess at the end — so paint your nails for a little race glam. My race nails of choice are these House of Holland Gym Bag nails — I love 'em!

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