Before the start  
Food & Drink  
Be on time

During the race  

After the finish  

What if it rains?

Tips for race-day (1)

Updated November 25, 2003

Before the start...


 Before the start -- Food and drink 

You should begin hydrating well before the start of the event -- 24 to 36 hours before, in fact. On the morning of the Défi, drink 8-16 oz of fluid two hours before the start, or as soon as you get up. Drink another 8-20 oz about fifteen minutes before the start. Fluids should be cool (not warm) for the body to absorb them most quickly. If instead of plain water you drink a sports drink (such as Gatorade), you'll have the further benefit of taking in carbohydrates, electrolytes, and salt; this will help you retain the water once the race begins. What about coffee? If you regularly drink coffee, go ahead, but not more than 2 cups; studies cited by Runner's World indicate that drinking 1-2 cups of coffee can increase your endurance, and the diuretic effect is countered by exercise.

As for food, whether and how much you should eat before the race depends a lot on your personal preferences: if you simply can't eat anything in the early morning, or are too nervous to keep it down, why force it. But -- your body is going to burn a lot of calories on Race Day, and the sooner you give it fuel the better. Choosing the right food will make a big difference. Foods that are high in fat and/or protein are definitely contraindicated. Fat will just sit in your stomach and make you feel heavy, even bloated. Protein takes extra energy to digest and causes extra urine production. High-fiber foods are also not a good idea on Race Day, because this is the one time in your life when you don't need the extra bulk. In short, the recommended foods are complex carbohydrates, such as white rice or a bagel, and fruit such as bananas.



 Before the start -- Checklist 

The day before the Défi, prepare a checklist of everything you plan to wear or carry during the event itself: your clothes, skates, tools, food & water, everything, preferably in the order in which you'll put it on. If you figure on deciding at the last moment between, say, shorts or tights, put them both on the list. Then, before you go to bed put this checklist next to your gear, and make sure everything is where you can put it on conveniently. When you get up in the morning, follow your checklist! (Make sure your checklist includes your wallet and keys, and the course guide if you need it. You should always carry your ID and a small amount of money just in case.)



 Before the start -- Weather 

On the morning of Race Day, turn on the Weather Channel when you get out of bed. Check out the forecast for the day, including high and low temperatures. This is when you make your final decision as to what you're going to wear, and possibly whether to switch to greased bearings in case of rain. Stick your nose out the door to confirm your decision, but don't be deceived by the pre-dawn chill. Wear a tear-away warmup suit if necessary, on top of whatever you'll skate in.



 Before the start -- Race Numbers 

If you pre-registered, you'll have your numbers (race bibs) beforehand. You get two of them, one for the front, one for the back, along with enough pins to attach them securely. Before you even get the numbers you should be thinking about where you'll put them. Too many participants never have even one number showing, let alone both. This makes things difficult for volunteers at the checkpoints -- and at the finish! Admittedly, the cloths are rather big, but you can easily fold them here and there to show only the actual number. The best place to attach the front number is to your thigh, except if you're wearing loose pants. In that case, go for the chest, but don't pin it on your jacket if you're wearing one, unless you're absolutely positive you won't be unzipping it till the end. (It's an easy thing to unzip when you see a checkpoint coming, to show who you are.) As for the rear number, this is simpler: attach it to whatever will always be outermost. If you're carrying a Camelbak or a backpack, attach it to that. Having both numbers highly visible also lets others know that you are participating in a sports event.



 Before the start -- Be on time 

If you haven't pre-registered, make sure you're at the Auditorium at least an hour beforehand (i.e., 5 a.m.). You'll need to sign up and get your course guide and race numbers, and put the latter on.

Unfortunately there are always a few skaters who start late at the Défi, which is a pity. Unless you have arranged beforehand to be starting late (so that an official can record your starting time), your official finishing time will be longer than the time you actually took. An equally good reason to be on time however is that it gives you a chance to skate with some company. Even if you plan on skating solo, you will repeatedly meet other participants along the way, passing them and being passed by them; these moments of contact are psychologically valuable to all of us, as we encourage each other to keep pushing on.


  Þ During the race