You’ve spent the last several months training, logging mile after mile to get your mind and body ready for the big event. And, now — finally — the day is here! Whether you’re running a 5K or a marathon, don’t let the logistics of race day leave you stumbling before you get to the starting line. We’ll tell you what you need, what you don’t and how to prepare for race day.
Months Before Race Day
Planning for your race starts well before the big day.
GET A MAP
If you live near the course, and it’s safe to do so, practice on it. If that’s not possible, especially if you’re traveling to the race by plane, study the map and look for landmarks, elevation changes and sharp turns. If the official race map doesn’t denote elevations, seek out runner-made maps on sites like RunKeeper.com.
You can also find video course tours online, some made by the marathon officials (like for the Chicago Marathon and American Family Fitness Half Marathon, some by fans or running-focused websites (like for the Boston Marathon).
Even if you can tour the course first, you should still look at the map to get an idea of how far apart aid stations and Porta-Potties will be. Knowing where the bathrooms will be can help if you really need to go, whether that pitstop is planned or not. Knowing the location of the aid stations can help you figure out if you will need to carry fluids or food with you (Some races supply gels on the race course and will mark this on the map).