How to Dress for Race Day

May 11, 2016 Posted By: Barbara Mitchell

Well, finally spring on the calendar, if not the temps here in the north. This morning I had on more winter type gear than spring gear, but well, they say it’s coming! With spring on the calendar it means race season is upon us. It’s no secret that many of you “stress” about what to wear on race day. Incessant Weather Network checks are often the name of the game. Will I be warm enough at the start? Will I be too warm/cold when running? All questions that we ask ourselves. I am here to give you the Top 5 tips for race day dressing.

1. Whatever the temperature reads, add at least 10 degrees for dressing- Running heats you up quickly. If the temperature on race day is 10 C- dress for 20C . Especially if the sun is out.  You may feel chilled at the start, but once you get running you’ll be happy you didn’t overdress.

2. The start- if it’s an early spring race or early to late fall, waiting at the start can be an uncomfortable experience.  I am here to give you powerful knowledgeJ.  Everyone should keep awful old sweatshirts, ugly, non-breathable race shirts, sweatpants, really old tights you don’t want to wear anymore etc. to wear at the start of a cooler race morning. Each time I replace a piece of run gear, I keep the older one with no more wicking properties for race mornings. Keep them on until a few minutes before the start then say “goodbye”.  Usually these clothes get donated, so at least you aren’t just throwing them out. If you don’t have any clothing to get rid of, check out dollar stores, as you can sometimes get stuff there.

I have bought gloves, hats, and umbrellas (yes a rainy start a few years back, and I ran my warm up with it.) If you are lucky enough to have a loved one supporting you and waiting at the start then you are in luck and can give them your clothes. The final option is check your bag at the very last possible minute you can and then run your warm up to stay warm. Get into the corral and snuggle with the people next to you. Once you get running you will heat up fast. Never judge how you will feel by how you think you’ll feel standing in the corral. Add 10-15 degrees when you choose your clothing.

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3. Arm warmers are a life saver- A t-shirt or tank with arm warmers is a great gear choice for colder starts. You get the benefit of long sleeves until you heat up at which point you can just roll them down to your wrists. They are one of my favorite pieces of gear.
Shoes- We all know it’s not a good idea to save anything new for race day. That includes shoes.  Buying a new pair of shoes at an expo is not the time to break them out. Even a model you have worn before. What feels good on a training run, doesn’t always feel good in a race. Going faster, sweating etc, even in broken in shoes, I always tended to get a blister or rubbing when I didn’t during training. A mystery I could never solve but got smart and covered vulnerable spots with moleskin or blister band-aids before heading out to race. If you choose to race in more minimal shoes, make sure you do some faster training runs in them so that your body and feet are used to less cushion and stability and you don’t have any race day surprises.

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4. Shoes- We all know it’s not a good idea to save anything new for race day. That includes shoes.  Buying a new pair of shoes at an expo is not the time to break them out. Even a model you have worn before. What feels good on a training run, doesn’t always feel good in a race. Going faster, sweating etc, even in broken in shoes, I always tended to get a blister or rubbing when I didn’t during training. A mystery I could never solve but got smart and covered vulnerable spots with moleskin or blister band-aids before heading out to race. If you choose to race in more minimal shoes, make sure you do some faster training runs in them so that your body and feet are used to less cushion and stability and you don’t have any race day surprises.

5. Check a bag for the finish- Whether it’s super hot out or cool to start or finish, checking a bag with fresh clothes feels amazing after a race. You will sweat, then cool down while enjoying your post race euphoria and bagel/banana. Pack a long sleeve, t-shirt, and capri or tights if it’s colder out. Changing your top is more important than your bottoms, but if it s cold when you get done and you race in shorts, you’ll want warm pants at the end.

The Key message is: more runners tend to over dress than under dress for a race. You will heat up…. and fast, especially if it’s sunny and you are pushing the pace. Just like packing a suitcase for a trip, lay out your clothes then get rid of half of themJ . You’ll race happier and have more freedom of movement. Save the warm stuff for your check bag and feel cozy when you’re done. Good luck and see you on the roads!!!

 

Elise-Yanover-Blog-photo

Elise has been a registered Physiotherapist since 1992. She has her own home based private practice seeing athletes and non athletes alike. 

She was a competitive age group triathlete and runner for over 20 years who recently decided to hang up the racing flats and enjoy an active lifestyle which includes running, weight training, cycling, yoga and aerobic cross training.

Elise balances her days with work, fitness, and family as a wife, and mother to a nearly teen daughter.  

 

 

 

 

 

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