A blog about Trace and her races.

7 Race Day Must-Haves!

My blog has been pretty dull lately and that is simply because I am SO busy!  I guess that is much better than having a boring life right?  Anyway, I can’t believe that we are only 6 weeks away from LA Marathon!  Seriously, can you believe it?   With that in mind, it is time to prepare for other things…

Every marathon I run has to be meticulously planned – yes, things happen and I will tweak things here and there but overall there is a lot of time spent on just planning the darn thing – far more than the training schedule.  This marathon (LA Marathon) kicked off with a 20-week training plan, and most recently I have been experiencing with gels since my stomach is acting all sorts of funky lately.  Seriously, it is making weird noises as I type!  With only a short amount of time and plenty to do including Surf City Half, Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 10k, a move to a new apartment, testing out my new racing shoes and purchasing my new outfit (say what you will but I can’t race in the same thing twice), I really don’t have much time for else.  The next point of attack is making a list of things that I cannot be without the morning of the race.  As silly as it sounds, there is no need to stress yourself out at the last minute since you already have so much on your mind.  Give yourself a little break and prepare ahead of time.

Having said this, I thought I would put my simple list of 5 things I can’t do without on race day but that list quickly turned into 7!

Here are the things you won’t catch me without at LA Marathon:

1. ROAD ID ANKLET ID (www.roadid.com) – Seriously, this is one of the most important things I depend on whenever I am running and you should look into getting one too.  Better safe than sorry!

Love, love and love these!



2. Garmin 405 (http://www8.garmin.com/ces/forerunner/index.html) – I depend on my Garmin – probably a little too much but I must go into any race knowing I actually ran X amount of miles in an X amount of time. There is nothing worse than running a very particular loop for years thinking it was much longer than it actually is and when you do the math again you realized you are :30 seconds slower than previously thought.

My favorite bezel settings.

Because I actually program my watch differently for each type of workout (track, tempo, LSD) I have to make sure to set my bezel accordingly so that I can view the right statistics on race day. My race settings include:

Auto Lap – I set my watch to count splits at each mile. I do this so I can review the splits post race to get a better understanding of how I ran.  I like to see the mistakes I made (going out too fast on certain miles) and I like to go back to specific miles that stand out in my race like, “was that hill really that big at mile 9?”.  In general, I try to run each mile very consistent and only kick it in with around 10k or 5k left, depending on how I feel.

Bezel Settings

Bezel Setting #1 (Main)

Pace – Current pace – Just a simple reminder not to run too fast/not too slow.

Avg. Pace – Knowing my race time goal obviously means I know what pace I need to run in order to achieve it.  I also know that I can’t dramatically make significant changes to my overall average pace late into the race. Beginning at around mile 3, I make sure to note the progress. I don’t want to be stuck at mile 20 with tons of time to make up.

Distance Obviously I don’t need the distance on my watch since there are mile markers on the course. I use this feature out of habit with my training and also because as we all know, it is so easy to get entranced by the runner in front of us that is weaving all over the place instead of running the tangents (point to point).  It is so interesting to see how much extra we run because of it.


With the 405, we get three bezel settings that we can view during our run.  While I mostly use the one listed above, I also have two more set just in case:

Bezel Setting #2: Lap Pace (average pace of current lap) and Lap Time (total amount of time in current lap).

Bezel Setting # 3: Time – this shows my overall time since I started my watch. I rarely look at it but sometimes it is nice to see during the last mile of the race, it pumps me up seeing my time.



3. DIMRS (http://www.dimrs.com/) – OK boys, time to look away and skip to #4.  I purchased these at the Surf City  or Carlsbad Marathon last year and I always have them with me.  I don’t know about you but I don’t like to have my high-beams on in front of thousands of people and I really don’t have the time to check and make sure they are…aligned!  I feel so much more comfortable wearing these thin silicone covers that fit right in my sports bra.  I no longer have to pin my racing number on my top to hide them and I also have the freedom to buy any sports bra whereas before, I would have to seek out one that had just a little padding to hide that insecurity.  Ladies, I KNOW you know what I am talking about and here is your solution!




4. Hammer Gel – Tropical Flavor (www.hammernutrition.com) – This particular gel has worked wonderfully for me. (All Hammer Nutrition products, actually – Recoverite, Heed, Endurolytes, Premium Insurance Caps and the gels).  I have tried several other types but I just can’t take in their flavors and consistency.  I really love the Raspberry but I like the 25 mg of caffeine that Tropical offers. I swear to my friends that when I take the Tropical that I actually get clearer vision from the caffeine. I am sure that is just an illusion but it’s an illusion that helps me… I typically run with 3 and take them at around miles 8, 16 and 20. If I need another one, I will take one from the course offerings.



5. Endurolytes (http://www.hammernutrition/) – In all honesty I don’t know how well these electrolyte supplement pills works but I have yet to cramp up during a race and I don’t want to take a chance and run without them.  I don’t have any issues with my stomach when taking these and I take them at mile 6 and 18.  I usually take 5-6 with me because I end up dropping half of them while running!



6. Chapstick with SPF I find myself applying chapstick (I don’t actually use the Chapstick brand – SPF is the only important thing I care about) at least 15 times during a marathon. I hate when my lips are dry and I am paranoid about having my lips exposed to the sun without protection. Not much more to say here.


7. iFitness Belt (http://www.ifitnessinc.com/) – With all the stuff I carry with me, I have to have somewhere to put it. I started with the Spibelt (http://www.spibelt.com/) but everything was flopping all over the place and I ended up getting bruises from it. I also didn’t like the fact that I had to carefully pack the items inside to keep it from flopping. During the race, you just grab what you need out of it without even looking down at it. The iFitness belt is really comfortable, doesn’t budge and it is also made of a neoprene fabric that protects the stuff inside from getting wet. The endurolyte pills dissolve rather quickly when wet so I have to make sure they are dry.  I actually have to buy a new one in the upcoming weeks since I drove off one day after running in the park with it on my roof and someone ran it over and busted the buckles.   As a side note, I use the Ultmate Running Belt Style since it has particular places to hold the gels and I can also attach my racing bib to it.

No matter what you need for your big race – put together your list and deal with one less stressful thing on race day!  What are your must-haves? Let us know!!!!

Happy Running – Trace

2 responses

  1. Bill King

    Great tips, Trace! I will have to try the Endurolyte. You already know I love other Hammergel products. 😉

    February 4, 2011 at 6:02 pm

  2. steve

    great post! loved the advice!

    May 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

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