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Ideas for Race Day – iRunFar

Where the Road Ends A Guide to Trail Running book

When you get pleasure from this text, then get your personal copy of the e-book “The place the Highway Ends!”

Welcome to this month’s version of “The place the Highway Ends: A Information to Path Working,” the place we assist you plan on your first path race!

“The place the Highway Ends” is the title of each this column and the e-book Meghan Hicks and Bryon Powell of iRunFar revealed in 2016. The e-book The place the Highway Ends: A Information to Path Working is a how-to information for path working. We labored with writer Human Kinetics to develop a e-book so anybody can get began, keep secure, and really feel impressed on the path.

The e-book teaches you negotiate technical trails, learn a map, construct your personal coaching plan, perceive the fundamentals of what to drink and eat whenever you run, and a lot extra. This column goals to do the identical by publishing sections from the e-book, in addition to encouraging dialog within the feedback part of every article.

On this article, we convey you an excerpt from Chapter 12 about path racing and put together for it. Final month, we provided some tips about making ready on your race forward of time. On this article, we share some race-day suggestions that can assist you have your greatest day trip.

Beginning Traces

By its nature, path working takes us to distant locations off the overwhelmed path. Accordingly, you may have to observe a convoluted and complicated path to the beginning line of a path race. Simply attending to it could really feel like a twisty, winding journey on singletrack. Most race web sites present good directions for attending to the beginning with maps and written instructions.

When you navigate to the beginning line with a GPS machine, use it to substantiate your location relative to the directions supplied. Don’t rely fully in your GPS unit as a result of GPS gadgets aren’t at all times in a position to route you appropriately by way of distant areas. Be certain that to go away loads of additional time for the meandering and mistaken turns that is perhaps a part of this journey.

Tent metropolis on the 2018 Vermont 100 Mile begin/end space. Some path races present designated tenting areas, which could be helpful in case your race is someplace distant and/or begins very early. Picture: Dave Priganc

Parking for all however the largest path races, which we talk about later, is often simple, if sometimes messy. Often, race volunteers level you towards an empty parking spot, however be ready for this parking spot to be off street, perhaps in a grassy or muddy area. Relying on the format of the beginning line and the parking space, you might need to stroll a good distance out of your automobile to the road. Funds time for this.

Those that are acquainted with street racing can have an analogous picture come to thoughts after we point out starting-line restrooms: a protracted row of portapotties with an extended line of ready runners. The restroom scenario on the beginning line of a path race is perhaps just like this or fairly completely different. Typically you’ll encounter that very same line of portapotties, whereas different occasions you’ll have entry to a restroom at a trailhead or customer heart. You’ll doubtless have to attend your flip, so construct some restroom time into your pre-start plan. You might or might not have a method to clear your arms after utilizing the lavatory, relying on how easy the services are. Think about bringing hand sanitizer or child wipes simply in case.

At a path race begin, you’ll need to test in in addition to choose up your bib quantity and perhaps some swag like a shirt or a hat. Typically races provide check-in the evening earlier than at an area working retailer or lodge, however others provide check-in solely on the beginning line. Even when you’ve checked in earlier than race morning, chances are you’ll have to test in once more on race day in order that the race has an correct checklist of who’s on the course. Be certain that to notice all this from the race web site. Once more, check-in can take time, so arrive with sufficient time to perform it.

As a result of path races typically funnel straight onto singletrack with little room for passing, you could seed your self amongst your friends. Do you have to seed your self too far forward within the pack, you’ll doubtless be caught working in a practice of runners who’re too quick, which might make the second half of your race a painful, gradual slog. When you seed your self too far again, you’re apt to waste time ready for these forward of you to barter the terrain. To seed your self appropriately, estimate the scale of the group and place your self in it in keeping with your earlier race outcomes. For instance, when you typically end across the high 30%, place your self behind roughly one third of the runners.

2018 Ruck a Chuck 50k start

Keen racers prepared to start out the 2018 Ruck a Chuck 50k. Picture: Singletrack Working

When you end up needing to barter a move or to permit different runners to move you, err on the facet of warning and respect for others. If you need to move one other runner, politely ask the particular person forward of you for permission. When the path permits, the particular person ought to step apart to allow you to go by. If one other runner desires to move you, provide the identical little step off the path as quickly because it’s secure to take action. Somewhat kindness goes a great distance, in life and on the path.

Staying on Course

The factor that varies probably the most from path race to path race is how programs are marked. Though you received’t discover consistency from race to race, the web site or the pre-race briefing are good locations to search out out precisely how a course might be marked. Most programs are marked no less than partially with inch-wide (2.5 cm large) coloured ribbon generally known as flagging.

Flagging is hung from timber, shrubs, grass, and everlasting path markers. Most frequently, flagging is hung to delineate the trail you might be to journey. Flagging is available in many colours, however pink, orange, and yellow are often used at path races. Usually, race administrators use the same-color flagging from begin to end to delineate the course.

Some occasions maintain races of a number of distances, so race administrators typically use flagging of various colours for the completely different races. Ensure you know the flagging shade you might be to observe. Often, races use small flags or reflective markers hanging from flagging or connected to skinny steel stakes within the floor.


Flags on The Rut course. Picture: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

A race director may complement flagging with extra markers, similar to flour arrows or plastic plates with arrows directing the place it is best to go, notably at intersections. Typically, wrong-way indicators, in another way coloured ribbons, or department barricades are positioned on the paths you shouldn’t take.

In a really perfect marking scenario, a race director marks the course at common intervals with what we name confidence markers, say each quarter- or half-mile (each half or full kilometer). These markers present affirmation that you’re going in the proper path over anticipated and common intervals. When you don’t recall seeing a marker for some time, you may start actively in search of one. When you then don’t see one in barely longer than the intervals you may have beforehand, chances are you’ll wish to flip round if no different runners round you may confidently say that you just’re nonetheless on the right track.

When you maintain your eyes peeled, you might be unlikely to have points navigating.

Assist-Station Expectations

Assist stations are beacons of hope that provide water, meals, and pleasant faces in distant areas. Though aid-station layouts differ from race to race and even from station to station inside a single race, you’ll discover sure mainstays amongst all of them.

Most probably, volunteers will document your passage manually or by chip and timing mat, in order that the race can observe every runner’s location. This normally occurs as you enter or depart an assist station. Do what you may to facilitate this course of.

Marianne Hogan - 2022 UTMB - Courmayeur

Marianne Hogan having fun with pizza and Coke on the Courmayeur assist station in the course of the 2022 UTMB. Picture: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Subsequent, maintain your hydration. You’ll usually discover that drinks can be found from already poured cups and from giant jugs. Water, sports activities drinks, and soda are widespread hydration choices at assist stations. At a brief race, chances are you’ll simply wish to keep a second and sip on a glass of water or sports activities drink.

For longer races, you wish to do the identical whereas additionally refilling a handheld water bottle or hydration pack from a jug. Swigging a little bit of soda can add a jolt of vitality for the approaching part, though many runners save this for late in a race. Typically, assist stations provide ice for longer or hotter races. In that case, add it to your bottle or hydration pack. Be aware that when you’re taking part in a “cupless” race, you’ll want to offer your personal ingesting and water-storage containers and also you received’t discover drinks awaiting you in cups.

You’ll doubtless discover a desk stuffed with easy-to-eat snacks, normally together with salty meals like salted potatoes, chips, and pretzels, and candy meals like gels, gummy bears, cookies, and exhausting candies. At longer path races, like a path marathon, you may discover extra substantive meals like soup, grilled cheese, bacon, and pancakes.

Assist stations provide rubbish baggage or cans. If recycling or composting containers are supplied, use them appropriately.

Some assist stations can have a restroom, whether or not it’s an outhouse, portapotty, or backcountry setup. Additionally, many assist stations are staffed with medical personnel. Ideally, you received’t want their companies, however understanding such assist is accessible supplies peace of thoughts.

Lastly, earlier than you allow, ensure that to thank the help station volunteers. Even higher, volunteer to work at an assist station of one other race to present again to these individuals who have helped you.

End Areas

Most path runners love finish-line areas. You might be accomplished with the challenges of working. You may hang around with your mates, evaluate notes on the day, have a picnic, and luxuriate in meals and drinks provided by the race. Typically races have dwell music and different actions. Many individuals discover themselves having a lot enjoyable on the end of a path race that they keep there longer than the time it took them to run the race itself.

You should definitely pack provides that may mean you can hang around after the race, be it clear and heat garments to alter into, a blanket or camp chairs to take a seat on, a few of your personal foods and drinks, and additional sunscreen.

Hillary Allen letting her legs relaxation on the end of the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon. Hopefully, you’ll discover a higher seat than this one! Picture: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

At most path races, all finishers get some form of prize, which is given out whenever you cross the end line. A low-key award ceremony for the quickest runners will happen as a part of the finish-line festivities. The quantity and sorts of awards differ from vital prize cash for the highest women and men to small items that reach by way of high age-group finishers.

Name for Feedback

  • Are you preparing on your first off-road race? What questions do you may have?
  • For these of us who’ve run path races earlier than, what are you aware now that you just want you’d discovered earlier than your first one?



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