Congratulations! If you are reading this article, you must likely signed up to run a race in the 2017 Baltimore Running Festival! Whether you are running the 5K, half marathon, relay, marathon or the BaltiMORON, you are about to be a part of one of the best days in Baltimore.
Now that you’ve put in the training, the last two days before the race are all about smart preparation so you are ready to confidentially tackle your race of choice. The last two days are also usually when those nerves kick in and your mind starting running it’s own race – “what should I eat? Did I run enough miles?” These six steps will ease your mind and help ensure you do everything you can as we approach the starting line on Saturday, October 21st.
1. Pick up your bib and race shirt at the Baltimore Convention Center
If you take away only one piece of information from this article, it should be this – there is no packet pick up on race day (I repeat – there is no packet pick up on race day) so if you want to be ready to run, attend the Nava Health & Vitality Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday, October 19th or Friday, October 20th between 12pm and 8pm. Here you’ll grab your bib and race shirt and also have the chance to check out the booths with local vendors and big-name running brands.
If you have a chance – visit your friends at Charm City Run and shop our brand new logo tops; you can’t miss our set-up right near the Under Armour displays. This is also a chance for you to pick up last minute race necessities – handheld water bottle, gels and gummies for race fuel or a belt to stash your phone while you race. Which brings us to our next tip:
2. Plan your race day outfit and necessities
With a mostly sunny forecast and a high of 75 degrees and a low of 57 degrees, it looks like Saturday is going to be another relatively warm fall day in Baltimore. Plan your outfit now so you are ready for race day. Stick to what you are used to wearing while on the run. Layers are always great and those running races with earlier start times in particular, such as the 5K and marathon, may want to consider wearing outer layers to warm up and check prior to the race. The Baltimore Running Festival is the perfect opportunity to sport your favorite Maryland and Charm City Run swag!
As we mentioned, the race expo is a great place to pick up last minute essentials so make sure you have all the accessories and gear you need. Do you have BodyGlide? Your favorite flavor of nutrition gels? A hydration belt or handheld bottle? Run through what you’ll need on Saturday ahead of time and avoid the late Friday night panic when you realize you don’t have what you need.
3. Start Hydrating Early
Don’t wait until Saturday morning to hydrate! Drink water throughout the day and make a habit of keeping your water bottle by your side. Bonus points if you prepare with electrolytes as well! De-hydration can lead to poor performance and fatigue on race day so do yourself a favor and avoid the consequences but hydrating early.
4. Register your friends and family for online tracking
Hopefully your friends and family can come cheer you on along the course, but regardless, online tracking is a great way for your loved ones to be with you every step of the way! Click here to register for online tracking so they can celebrate with you as you cross the finish line.
5. Eat smart and stay in your comfort zone
One of our favorite health coaches, Lauren Shafer, has a golden rule for pre-race fueling: “Nothing New.” Now is not the time to try the hippest new Indian restaurant in Baltimore or experiment with a new cereal the morning of the race. What have you been eating the night before your training runs? Eat a similar meal the night before the race. For more detailed information about eating leading up to your race distance, click here.
6. Relax your legs and your mind
This close to a race, you may start to question if you’ve trained enough. Regardless of what you think, convince yourself you have trained to your best ability and rest those legs! Two days before, any tough runs will not benefit you in time for the race. In fact, a grueling workout will leave you feeling sore, tight and tired on Saturday morning.
Use Thursday and Friday to move in a way that makes your body feel it’s best. Light runs, walks, stretching, foam rolling or light bike rides are all great ways to shake out your legs in the last two days before the festival without overdoing it. If you're visiting Baltimore (welcome!) or a local looking to re-discover the city, use these two days to walk along the beautiful Harbor. Local yogi, Karen Dubs, has a great pre-race stretching and calming routine that you can follow by clicking here. You’ll thank yourself when your legs and mind feel fresh as you approach the starting line!
7. Think positive and build confidence
Running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. Think positive and start to build your confidence heading into the Baltimore Running Festival. Envision yourself on the race course – lining up to start with confidence, coasting past each mile marker, powering up each hill with strength and finally sprinting over the finish line with a huge smile on your face.
Think about a particularly tough training day that you pushed through to become stronger. Maybe you had a killer hill workout last month or maybe you got out your door for a humid run after work, even when you were super stressed - whatever your memory is, focus on that particular milestone. Remember how hard you have worked to get to this point and be proud of yourself for challenging yourself thus far. Positive thinking in the days leading up to the race will translate to race day confidence. Continue this thinking Saturday morning and throughout your race.
8. Plan your race day details
Figure out race day logistics now! The less you have to worry about Friday night and Saturday morning, the calmer you will feel going into your race. How are you getting to the race area? Make sure you and any cheering squad members are aware of road closures in the city throughout the day. Are you checking a bag? What are you going to eat for breakfast? Answer these questions now and worry less later!
9. Get ready to celebrate!
And finally, prepare to celebrate your amazing accomplishment on Saturday! You can hang out at the race Celebration Village afterwards for beer, snacks and the essential post-race selfies with your medals (we would love to see your pictures when you tag @charmcityrun). Sunday after the race you are bound to feel a little sore so sign up to join us at any Charm City Run location for our Recovery Party at 10am. We’ll provide guided stretching, foam rolling demos, free breakfast and celebratory mimosas! We invite you to wear your race shirt and share your race stories with your fellow runners.
Good luck to all runners participating in this Saturday’s 2017 Baltimore Running Festival! We hope to see you at the expo and on race day. We’ll be cheering for you loud and proud!
About the Author: Lizzy Peper
Lizzy is the Senior Marketing Manager and a 5K/10K coach for Charm City Run. Previously she worked as a part time team member at Charm City Run Timonium. Lizzy ran competitively as a member of the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams at (local) Towson High School and (not so local) Marist College. She co-captained the Division I Marist women's cross country team in 2015 and graduated in 2016 with a degree in Communication and a concentration in Public Relations. When she isn't working at CCR or running the Canton waterfront, Lizzy enjoys sharing plant-based recipes, exercise inspiration and positive vibes on her personal blog, Pep In Your Step and Instagram, @peppysteps.