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Best ways to prep for an evening race

Habitual morning runners, this one is for you

Justyn Knight Photo by: Canadian Running

Dear morning runners: evening races are not that common, but they are out there. One of the advantages of an evening race is you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to prepare. But there are pitfalls, as you need to watch what you eat and do during the day to ensure your body has enough energy for your race. Preparing for an evening race can be difficult to grasp, and eating too close to the start or a long, stressful day at work can easily mess it up. Here are some ways to prepare yourself.

Photo: Fort Town Night Run

Take it easy

Try to get plenty of sleep the night before, and sleep in the morning of if you can. If you are working, try to have a light activity day, and avoid standing on your feet for prolonged periods.

Practice training at night

The best way to prep for an evening race is by training in the evening to simulate the conditions you’ll be racing in. In the two to three weeks leading up to the event, try to train at the same time as the start. This will also allow you to practice your pre-race fuelling and figure out which foods work and which don’t. Most important, you’ll get a sense of what it feels like to run in the evening.

Fuel and hydrate

Since the race is later in the day, it’s important to make sure your body has enough gas in the tank to perform. Make sure you have a solid breakfast and lunch, then have something small an hour or two before your race–something similar to what you’d have if you were racing in the morning. If conditions are warm, try to sip at least a litre of water throughout the day. It also doesn’t hurt to consume electrolytes to keep your sodium and carbohydrate levels high during the race, especially for races longer than 5K.

Don’t do anything vigorous

Besides a light walk or some fresh air, there’s no need to run or play sports on the day of your race. Throw on a movie and kick your feet up and relax–you’ll want to save your energy for the race.