We Ask, You Answer: What’s the Single Most Important Thing to Remember on Race Day?

“We Ask, You Answer” is our new blog series featuring your training tips and race day advice. The concept is simple: We’ll ask the questions, and you’ll answer. Then, we’ll compile and share your advice. Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter!

Photo Oct 14, 5 53 13 PM130 hours. That’s how much time remains until 18,000 runners and walkers will cross the Start Line of the 2013 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. We’ve shared 30+ tips to help make sure this year’s race goes as smoothly as possible, and now the rest is up to you. So, for the final post in our inaugural “We Ask, You Answer” series, we asked marathoners to share their advice on the single most important thing to remember on race day:

Start slow. According to Melanie Rose: “Slow down at the beginning of the race! It’s so easy to let adrenaline and excitement make you get your best 10K time ever, but you have 20 miles to go after that. Save your energy for Mile 18 when you’ll really need it.” Jason Allen added, “Don’t go out too fast…it’s easy to do with all of the excitement and adrenaline. At first, your correct pace will probably feel like it’s slower than usual.”

Trust your training. Lisa Parrish Bashford said, “ENJOY the EXPERIENCE!! You’ve worked HARD to get to the starting line. Don’t waste the race on worry… Run your race the way you have been trained and ENJOY IT!!” Here’s another helpful tip from Melissa Waldorf Holden: “Run the first 9 with your head. Your muscles are ready. Run the next 9 with your legs. Now passion comes in. Run the last 9 with your heart. Smile and congratulate yourself!” And, one more reminder from Stephanie Lesco: “Plan your race and race your plan. Anticipate scenarios that could throw you off course, and know how you will adjust.”

Remember to run YOUR race. As Jeanine Foster says, “Run the race at your pace and no one else’s. Who cares if someone has crossed that finish line already and your miles from it. Everyone covers the same distance no matter how fast or slow, so run your own race.” Keep this advice from Theresa Mazzitti in mind too: “You don’t do a full to show off or get accolades. You do it in gratitude that your body allows you to push the limits. Be thankful and be in the present. Out there it’s you against YOU.”

Don’t try anything new on race day. “No new clothes on race day. No new foods on or before race day,” said Meghan Crosby. The Walk! Newsletter added: “As everyone else said — don’t do anything new on race day. That means don’t drink the Gatorade on the course if you don’t typically drink Gatorade. Skip the GU if you don’t use GU.”

Speaking of Gatorade, don’t forget to hydrate! Kim Labert’s advice? “Don’t wait until you are thirsty to hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!”

Lastly, HAVE FUN! “You don’t have to have a good time, to have a great time,” said Dennis Ley. Dave Parsons also suggested, “Have fun!!!! You worked for this for months…now enjoy it!” And one final tip from Torri Aprile: “Be thankful that you are able to run, enjoy the experience and cheer the patients at each mile…they are the real champions.”

In your opinion, what’s the most important thing to remember on Sunday? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below. Click here for more advice from our runners!

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