The not-so-skinny on race prep

With less than 24 hours before the start of my very first 15k, I’m trying not to freak out staying calm, relaxed and keeping my head in the right frame of mind. I’m certainly not as worried as I am typically before a triathlon (damn you swim!), but nevertheless, the butterflies will be there whether it’s your 1st race or 100th.

As I mentally get my mind in shape, I’m also beginning to lay out everything I’ll need for tomorrow. The gun goes off at 7:05am, so it’s going to be an early wake up call, no doubt. Like any big event, if you’re prepared the night before, it’ll make for a smooth morning (and some extra snooze button hits!).

Now it’s no surprise I’m plus sized at the moment, and with that comes some extra challenges both pre, during and post race. I’ve learned lots of lessons over the past 3 years in how to accommodate for and work with my curves in a way to make racing comfortable. After all, if it were a painful, uncomfortable experience, I probably would have quit a long time ago.

Here are some of my tried and true tips for race success.

The shoes you wear on race day should be the shoes that you have been training with. The worst thing you could possibly do is buy a new pair of shoes for race day (or even as soon as a month before!). Make sure you have clocked in plenty of miles in your race day footwear. You’ll save yourself from chaffing, blisters, achy soles and toes. Remember, we’re aiming for comfort. Don’t even think about throwing your race shoes in the wash anytime before an upcoming race. You don’t want to alter the shape or feel of the shoes- and that goes for the soles as well. If you’re really concerned about the condition of your shoe (remember, it’s a race, not speed dating) then throw some new laces on and wipe a magic eraser on them to give them that “new” appearance.

Same rules apply. Going out and buying a whole new outfit for race day is just plain nuts. Whatever you’ve been training in is what you should be donning on race day. A few years ago I stumbled upon some yoga capris at Wal-mart. They’re knee-length and have a high waistband that you can either fold down or not. I carry a lot of my extra pounds in my mid-section, so many times regular workout shorts (even from the plus sized clothing section) will roll down past my midriff as I workout. I love these yoga pants because I can keep them unrolled and they stay put. If you can’t find pants like these, try using maternity workout pants (hey, nobody has to know!). They have that same extra large band that will hopefully solve the rolling down problem. Oh, and as for your unmentionables? Again, nothing brand new. Bust out those comfy cotton panties that are just the right size and worn in. You wouldn’t want photographers to catch you reaching for a wedgie!

As far as tops go, keep it simple. I have yet to find a good, supportive sports bra to handle these DD’s, but have found success with this bra, which isn’t necessarily a sports bra, but it’s comfortable and keeps those tatas locked and loaded. I’m a layerer. I’m not big on the feel of a loose shirt rubbing up against bare skin, so I love long and lean tanks. Right now Target has my favorite of these on sale for $5! They come in a TON of colors, and the XXL is long and large enough to cover my booty, and show off some color under my tees. I never race in just a tank though. The skin to skin rubbing that will happen under your arms will be enough chaffing to make you quit at mile 1. Throw on a light, 100% cotton short sleeve, v-neck tee and you’ll be good to go.

If you usually don’t run with a hat, don’t decide to wear one now (even if one came in your goodie bag). There’s nothing worse than hat headache. Do, however, have a plan for tying back your hair. I just bought myself the highly recommended Bondi Band to not only keep the hair out of my eyes (and believe me, I have unruly hair), but also the sweat. Speaking of sweat- it is NOT a good idea to apply sunscreen anywhere above the eyes. Once the sweat begins, and the sunscreen starts piercing your eyes with burning flames, you WILL regret it. Use the Bondi band to both keep your hair back and protect your precious forehead skin. Nonslip, ouchless rubber bands are also a good thing to keep handy (and will prevent you from looking like a lion if you have thick, curly hair like I do).

Must-have supplies
-Water. Make sure you are hydrating at least 48 hours before race time.
-Ibuprofen. Trust me, 2 of these little guys isn’t going to do any harm, and will help with inflammation during the race.
-Breakfast. Bulk up on carbs and proteins like a bagel with peanut butter and a fruit smoothie.
-Snack. If you’re doing a race longer than a 5k, definitely pack a snack to carry with you. Sports beans, fruit leather, or gels will do the trick and fit nicely inside a pocket.
-Chaffing cream. I cannot live without Monistat’s chafing gel. I take this to the beach, slather it on for races, and even long days at theme parks where I know I’ll be sweating a lot. Guys, don’t be deterred by the brand name. This get turns into a smooth powder when it drys, making the perfect barrier for those areas that rub. Believe me, this will be the best $5 you’ll spend during race prep!
I’m going to go ahead and get off this laptop and take some of my own advice and finish packing for tomorrow. Stay tuned for my post-race recap and tips on what to do after you’re done celebrating yo
ur huge achievement!
-Steph :)

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