The anticipation and excitement of race day is finally here! You’ve thought about what running shoes to wear, your running outfit, and the pace you’re hoping to maintain, but you may not have given much thought to how you’re going to manage the significant waiting time between arriving at the race, getting to your corral, and actually starting to run.
Here are some simple strategies to stay warm, so that you’re ready to go when your wave starts:
Dress in layers. If the temperature is low enough that you’ll be uncomfortable just standing around in your running gear, bring some old sweats that you can ditch at the start. A lightweight long sleeved shirt can be tied around your waist once you warm up. Arm warmers also come in handy to keep you warm before your own body heat takes over.
Keep your hands and head warm. Disposable hand warmers in your gloves can make a huge difference, as can keeping your head covered. There’s a reason that TCS New York City Marathon runners appreciate Dunkin’ Donuts besides the great coffee; waiting around for hours on Staten Island on a cool November morning would be a lot more uncomfortable without the warm fleece caps provided by Dunkin’ Donuts.
Sip warm fluids. Hot tea can create a little internal warmth as well as providing pre-race hydration.
Perform an active warm-up. A proper warm-up will increase your body temperature, raise your heart rate, and increase blood flow to your muscles, which should help improve your performance as the race begins and reduce your risk of injury. An active warm up can include:
Static stretching, like knee hugs, standing quad stretches, and figure-four stretches
Dynamic stretching, like high knees, leg swings, jumping jacks, squats, alternating lunges with a twist, and butt kicks
Besides just making you more comfortable as you wait to start your race, these strategies should help you perform at your best right out of the gate!