Running scared: missing the race

It’s probably one of the toughest things to shake. You know, that sinking feeling you sometimes get that you’re missing something. Like that race you’ve been training for six months for.

If you are like me, when you get that feeling, you probably are missing something. It’s likely happened to everyone at some point. For one Niagara Runner reader, it happened in Grimsby, ON at the annual Tim Hortons Peach Bud. The runner was ready to race the 5k at 7:30 p.m. Problem was, it started at 7 p.m.

Some of these road races start early in the morning, too. So what can you do to ensure you are at the start line in time?

Try using a calendar to keep track of important dates, like when online registration for races begins, when early sign-up closes (and there is a bump up in race fees) and when the race date and start time actually is. It also might be helpful to add these tasks to your daily and weekly to do lists.

The next step is reviewing your calendar and to do lists regularly. When you look at your calendar, don’t just see what is happening today, check the week ahead. That will help you keep all these dates and times organized.

Starting to feeling a little different? That’s you in control.

Ok, getting to the race location on time can be challenging. But, a little planning will go a long way in getting you there with time to spare. Check the race schedule to find out the start time. There’s usually also a specific time to sign in and pick up bib numbers and goodie bags. Knowing these times will help you figure out what time you need to leave your house to make it for the start of the race. Consider traffic in your travel time and add in a little buffer to accommodate a proper warmup. Read how being early can help reduce stress here.

Invest in a reliable alarm clock and use it properly. Have buddies in the race? Plan to call each other in the morning to ensure everyone is up and ready to go. Set multiple alarms, such as the one on your smart phone. Read more tips on how to wake up on time here.

If you are staying over night somewhere for an out-of-town race, take what works for you on the road, like you own alarm clock. Schedule a wake-up call from the front desk. Do the multiple alarm thing.

And when at the race it is probably best to establish a race-day routine. As athletes, we are creatures of habit anyways. Confirm start times when you pick up your bib number. Try to stay within earshot of the announcer at the start line. Avoid waiting in long lines by hitting the washrooms and changing into your gear early on. Warmup near the start line.

One more point to consider if you are racing this weekend: Daylight Savings Time. The clocks roll back this weekend so you get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. Just remember if you are running on Sunday you adjust your clock and alarm accordingly before bed. If you are an insomniac, the National Post has another strategy for you but you may have to set your alarm an hour earlier to make it to the race on time.

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