How To Prepare For Your First Race Of The Year

The key to many things on race morning is planning, preparation and practice. Rubio has his athletes wake up at least three hours before the race start to get moving. Some of them even do a five- to 10-minute walk or jog as soon as they get out of bed.

Then, eat and drink whatever it is you plan on eating and drinking—which may take a few races to perfect. And know that you’ll probably need to go to the bathroom a few times. Rubio recommends getting to the race site about an hour beforehand, which gives you plenty of time for more bathroom breaks and a warm-up.

Most of his athletes then do an extensive warm-up, with 2 to 3 miles of jogging, some flexibility drills and strides. If you can, scope out the start/finish during your warm-up and even jog down that last mile to the finish, so you can picture it.

Give yourself time to change clothes, pin on your number and get to the start ready to go.

And remember: This is fun. “Enjoy the whole thing,” says McMillan. Think of it as a “rust-buster,” something to get yourself moving again, see where you are, and test out what works for you (and what doesn’t).

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