Friday five : Avoiding Race Day Surprises

I am joining the lovely DCTrifecta ladies for this week’s link up. Be sure to check out Courtney at Eat Pray Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, Mar at Mar on the Run and the other bloggers.

Today’s theme is Race Day Surprises….



I don’t really like surprises. I am one of those people that obsessively plan, anticipate and organize in advance. I prefer going to a race with a little bit of knowledge about what to expect. So, here is how I AVOID race day surprises :

1. Think ahead about how you are going to get there and where you are going to park. Allow for extra time because it is always better to be early and sit in your car for half an hour rather than arriving at the race start, hurried and out of breath.

2. Check out the race map and elevation. In order to manage your energy and pace, it helps knowing where the hills are and where you need to go.


3. Bring extra clothes in case it is cold, windy or rainy. Its always easy to take clothes off if you are warm. Starting a race cold and shivering is not fun.


4. Fuel with what your body knows. Do not change your diet the few days leading up to the race and avoid overcharging your system with alcohol or sugar. I find my best races have been when I cut out the excess sugar and gluten in the week prior. My body performs better. My go to breakfast is always the same !

5. Prepare ! Lay your clothes out the night before and double check that your phone / watch / iPod is charged. Nothing worse leaving for a race and realizing you watch is out of battery. You wouldn’t want to miss that PR !


The worse surprise I have ever had is managing the crowds. In Paris we have races with over 30 000 people, and I always forget how crowded that can make the subway and the small streets when you are trying to get to the race start. This is why I always allow for extra time !


What was your worse race surprise ?



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Comments: 14

  1. lacey@fairytalesandfitness July 31, 2015 at 10:32 am Reply

    I always lay my clothes put the night before. One less thing I have to worry about race morning. The only thing I ever forgot were my ear buds for an 11k. Good thing it wasn’t a marathon.
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    • Karen - French Inspiration July 31, 2015 at 1:39 pm Reply

      when you are used to running with music, forgetting your earbuds is indeed a bummer.

  2. Coco July 31, 2015 at 1:23 pm Reply

    I’ve been lucky not to have too many bad race day surprises. I do stress over parking logistics but usually get my husband to sherpa me if it’s going to be bad.
    Coco recently posted…Running Rules I Always BreakMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration July 31, 2015 at 1:39 pm Reply

      That is definitely a good solution !

  3. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy July 31, 2015 at 2:08 pm Reply

    RnR Vegas was 40,000+ people.

    Luckily we could walk to the start. And yes, I planned it that way.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…5 Race Day SurprisesMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration July 31, 2015 at 9:26 pm Reply

      Definitely good planning. 40 000 is a lot ! The RnR series have started to come to Europe, but not to France yet.

  4. Tara @ Running 'N' Reading July 31, 2015 at 4:54 pm Reply

    I’ve definitely learned the hard way about bringing extra clothes at the finish, Karen; that is such a great tip! I have a tendency to cool off pretty quickly after a race/long run, and when I’m waiting around for others to finish I can get pretty uncomfortable. Hope you have a great weekend!
    Tara @ Running ‘N’ Reading recently posted…Race Day SurprisesMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration July 31, 2015 at 9:25 pm Reply

      I too get cold fast and end of race sweat + cold + hunger is not fun. Have a great weekend !

  5. A race that started 1.5 hours late in the 20 degree temps not good and not prepared for that one!
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    • Karen - French Inspiration July 31, 2015 at 9:24 pm Reply

      Wow, that is unacceptable and very poor race organization. Even worse in 20 degree weather !

  6. HoHo Runs August 1, 2015 at 2:08 am Reply

    I’d have to say a half that was poorly organized. The volunteers left their water stations and they were out of water and food at the finish line. The timing system was messed up too. They did make learn from their mistakes and had a much better race the next year.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Runfessions (July)My Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration August 1, 2015 at 6:48 am Reply

      Yikes. Live & learn I guess … not sure I would have gone back.

  7. Tory August 1, 2015 at 7:53 pm Reply

    I completely agree with your approach to race day planning! I like to plan and bring extra clothes to ensure I am not cold and to make sure I have something fresh to change into after the race!

    • Karen - French Inspiration August 2, 2015 at 7:06 am Reply

      For me, the only thing worse than being cold is being cold AND wet.

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