Preparing for race day

Who remembers signing up for their first ever running race? It was January 2012 for me. My wife and I decided we wanted to start running again and figured signing up for a race would be a good way to keep us motivated (especially during the winter!).

Fast forward a couple months and it was race time! Sportinglife 10k starts at 7:30am in Downtown Toronto, so we packed up what we thought we needed and headed out around 5am.

As our wave is about to go we hear others talking about where they are going to meet at the finish line. We both looked at each other and thought ‘hmmm maybe we should have planned that out’ especially since neither of us had our phone with us and Laura needed to be at the airport fairly quickly following the race.

Turns out we definitely should have planned better. With 27,000 people running it was near impossible to find each other at the end.

Our lack of planning meant:

  • Laura leaving the keys to the car in the exhaust pipe for me, taking a taxi to the airport and almost missing her flight
  • Laura accidentally taking her phone AND my phone with her to Alberta
  • And two very dehydrated stressed out newbie runners

Needless to say, had we planned things out a little bit better the whole day may have been less stressful.

Since then, most of my races have been local, which brings a whole world of race-day benefits that really takes the stress off. When I saw Run Waterloo was offering a duathlon I immediately got excited. However, it got me thinking – what do I need to do to prepare properly? How do I transfer effectively from running to cycling and cycling to running? What do I need to bring with me day of to make for a smooth race experience?

Interested in winning a free entry to the #BadenRaces? All you need to do is answer this question. The contest is open now until 9pm April 10, 2018.

“What do you not leave home without on race day?”

Two contest participants will be randomly selected to win a free entry to the Baden Races – Duathlon, 7 Miler, or 5k. Comment on this post, or tweet or facebook me.

Previous Contest Winners

In March, I asked what will your race strategy be?

Thanks everyone for the dozens of contest entries and congratulations to Reza and Jen the winners of a free #ENDURrace entry. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!



  • Dave Borch April 3, 2018 5:08 pm

    I never leave home without my Bose headphones. Need my music to keep me motivated and driven!

    • Michael Hewitson April 3, 2018 5:17 pm

      Especially during a race like the Baden 7 miler!!

  • Catherine April 3, 2018 5:29 pm

    Other than the obvious (bike, helmet, shoes), sunglasses are a must for the bike portion of a duathlon!

    • Michael Hewitson April 3, 2018 6:34 pm

      Yes! And often easily forgotten when rushing around in the morning (if you didn’t pack the night before that is!)

  • Jenn Tomlinson April 3, 2018 6:37 pm

    I never leave home without an extra pair of socks! You never know when you or someone else might need them!

    • Michael Hewitson April 3, 2018 6:56 pm

      I’ve never thought of that! Good idea!

  • Cynthia April 3, 2018 10:37 pm

    Running shoes, my Garmin and my husband

    • Michael Hewitson April 5, 2018 1:49 pm

      Thanks Cynthia! I agree all very important pieces of a successful run 🙂

  • Rob Bertram April 4, 2018 9:19 pm

    I was going to say safety pins, but I forgot those last time. I like Dave’s answer too, but my last race didn’t allow headphones. The only thing I’ve had at every race is my amazing cheering section, lead by my wonderful wife (and I am super grateful)!

    • Michael Hewitson April 4, 2018 10:34 pm

      Luckily the Run Waterloo team has you covered when it comes to safety pins! Cheering squad is key!

  • Tim Coleman April 5, 2018 1:58 pm

    The most important thing to bring to a race is a positive attitude! And running shoes. Pretty much anything else can be done without. 🙂

    • Michael Hewitson April 5, 2018 2:08 pm

      Thanks Tim! Agree you have to go in with the right attitude and mindset!

  • Ian McCreery April 5, 2018 2:08 pm

    On race day, I never leave home without at least two options of clothing to wear during the race. Often, it’s tricky to know exactly what amount of protection from the elements is required until just moments before the race.

    • Michael Hewitson April 5, 2018 2:41 pm

      Good idea! I have run a few races either too hot or too cold!

  • runwaterloo April 5, 2018 4:23 pm

    What a great collection of tips. Thanks everyone!

  • Martin Chmiel April 9, 2018 10:45 am

    The worst thing to leave behind on race day is your electronic recording device (ie. Your Phone, Your Watch, etc). You can do without shoes or clothes, but without that watch on your wrist, it’s like the race didn’t happen 🙂

    • Michael Hewitson April 10, 2018 11:44 am

      Thanks Martin! Haha very true!

  • Meredith April 9, 2018 12:09 pm

    warm (dry) clothes for post race!

    • Michael Hewitson April 10, 2018 11:45 am

      Agreed! Thanks Meredith

Comments are closed.