Raceday Tips

Even the best training program and leadup to raceday can be ruined by a poor raceday morning. This section provides some tips on how to avoid any last minute dramas.


Most marathons start at around 6 or 7 am in the morning. With waking up, preparation and transport time, you'll probably be getting up around 4 or 5 in the morning.

This means if you want to get a full 8 hours sleep, you need to be in bed and dropping off to sleep around 8 or 9 pm the night before. For many people, this is a lot earlier than their normal bed time, so getting to sleep at that time is a challenge. Add in the excitement and nerves, and it becomes an impossible task!

What you can do is start shifting your bed times and waking times a little earlier in the weeks leading up to the race. That will ensure your body is accustomed to the earlier bedtime cycle and will increase your chances of getting a decent night's sleep before raceday.

You can integrate this with your weekend long runs. I started doing my Sunday morning long runs earlier and earlier, and practiced getting up early and doing the normal pre-race routine. By doing this you will find out how your body reacts to the early morning start before race day.


If possible, try and stay within walking distance of the race start. However, this isn't always possible, so you may need to drive or catch a shuttle bus to the start line. Shuttle buses at large events can be notoriously badly run, so be prepared for bungles and long waits.

Most importantly, make sure you keep warm clothing on for as long as possible. There's nothing worse than shedding all yor clothes but your race gear, and then being stuck on a freezing cold bus for 45 minutes on the way to the start.

Keeping Warm And Carrying Gear

Many people turn up in just their race gear because they don't want to have to worry about storing gear. You can avoid this concern by buying some cheap or second hand jumpers, and leaving them on the ground near the start. You'll probably see people shedding jumpers during the actual first few kilometres of the race as well.

A five or ten dollar note is very light and won't weigh you down, but can come in very handy if there's any last minute supplies you might need. You can store your car or hotel key by putting it into the laces of your shoes, or in the special pocket some running shorts have.

A word of warning with the shoes - large keys can sometimes subtly change your runnning gait, so be careful where and how you attach a key to your shoes.

Race Chips

Many races require you to attach little electronic timing devices to your shoes - make sure you have practiced how to do this before 4 am on raceday morning! Same advice as for the keys goes here too - make sure you're happy with how the device feels on your shoe.

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Copyright 2007-2010 Michael Milford