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Race day preparation.. starts months before race day!

Race day preparation.. starts months before race day! - Ben Parkes Running

Benjamin Parkes |

Hello Runners! 

With so many of us battling extreme temperatures at the moment, I thought it would be good to fast forward a few months to think about the big day... RACE DAY! Where hopefully we'll all be treated to a calm, sunny day with perfect running temperatures.. I can't wait. 

So for this week's quick read.. let’s talk about race day research. 

It always amazes me how many runners wake up on race day and don't even know how to get to the start line, let alone knowing the route or where the water stations are. So with around two to three months to go, these are the questions I'd be asking myself.. and I’ve split this up into what I’d call mandatory, great if you can and ones for the obsessives! 

Have a read through and see what you think. Would you add anything else to the list? How do you prepare to make your race day as smooth as possible? 


Is your race number being sent out to you or do you need to go to an expo before the race to collect it? Look up the times that the expo is open and plan your trip there. If you can’t go, then organise someone else to go for you! 

What time does the race start? What time should I get there? 

What start line do you need to go to if there is more than one? 

Plan meeting points with friends/family for during, but most importantly after the race. 

Where are the water / gel stations? How often are they? Is there sports drink too? What are they giving out? Does that match my own nutrition? 

What is the kit bag situation? Can you leave your own bag? Or do you need to use a bag provided by the organisers? 

If you are staying in a hotel, plan your race day breakfast, so you’ll have what you want on the day?  

Plan the route to the start line for race day. Hotel to start line, home to start line, tent to start line! Trains, cars, taxis, planes.. boats (which is a popular option for the London Marathon!) 

Make your race day checklist. If you want to download mine as a PDF, then have a look here.. 

Great if you can 

Research the course map and profile, so you know where any hills are.  

Do a practice run of your journey from home/hotel to the start line. 

Cycle the route, so you’re familiar with it on race day. 

Read some race reports / blogs / YouTube videos from runners who have done the race. 

Are there toilets and showers on the course? 

Plan out the day for your spectators, do this now then they won’t be hassling you on the day. 

Plan your clothes and kit for after the race. 

Research pacing groups? Will there be other running targeting your time? 

Plan your race day playlist if you're listening to music on the day.. (most UK races do ban this now) 


Run the route (in two goes maybe!) 

Plan where friends / family could hand you nutrition or drinks 

So there's a few things to be thinking about at this point in time. Of course DON'T PANIC if you don't know the answers, there's plenty of time to get your plan in place.. research it and know that you'll be arriving at the start line in the best possible shape. 

Have I missed anything out? I'm sure I will have done.. so let me know below! 

Have a great weekend everyone. I'll be back on Monday with some more training tips and tricks to help you out with running, staying injury free and what to do if injury strikes and you have to miss some of your plan. 

See you then, happy running!