5 Ways To Support A Runner On Race Day



No mat­ter the dis­tance to be cov­ered, race day is a big deal for a run­ner. It’s the cul­mi­na­tion of weeks or months of prepa­ra­tion, psych­ing one’s self up, highs and lows, strate­gic work­outs, a cou­ple freak-outs, ran­dom bouts of excite­ment, and immea­sur­able antic­i­pa­tion. And  person(s) who sup­port a run­ner play a piv­otal role on race day. You can’t run the race for your run­ner, but you can sure help in mak­ing their big day go smoother.

Set Your Alarm
Odds are, your run­ner will have set sev­er­al alarms to ensure they are up on time. But to be safe, ask your run­ner when they need to be up, and if you don’t hear them bump­ing around by that time, swoop in and wake them. It’s the one time you’ll be laud­ed as a hero instead of get­ting a pil­low thrown at your head. There’s noth­ing worse on race day than get­ting a late start.

Make Sure They Eat
Before and after their race. If it’s a short­er dis­tance race, they may not eat before (although we do always rec­om­mend it), but offer to pre­pare break­fast. There’s a good chance they’ll want to do it them­selves to ensure every­thing remains exact­ly the same as on train­ing days, but if they are okay with you prepar­ing their extreme­ly dif­fi­cult peanut but­ter toast or oat­meal and peal­ing their banana, that opens up a few more min­utes for them to dress or…use the bathroom.

Show Up for the Race
Unless it’s a runner’s first race, it’s not as vital that you be there at the start­ing line. They will have nerves, excite­ment, and hun­dreds (or thou­sands) of oth­er run­ners to keep them com­pa­ny and pump them up for the feat at hand. See­ing you on the side­lines on the course, how­ev­er, is invalu­able. Few things will help pull a run­ner out of a funk, or just put a big­ger smile on their face than see­ing YOU scream­ing for them. If you can’t make it to var­i­ous points along the race, at least be at the fin­ish line. The fin­ish line is where all the emo­tions of the race cul­mi­nate, and it is impor­tant to have some­one there to share that with and help the run­ner move for­ward (phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly) as the race’s cli­max sud­den­ly breaks.

high five

Hydrate Them
If your run­ner wears a hydra­tion pack or uses a hand­held water bot­tle, fill it for them and triple check to ensure it not only gets into the car, but all the way to the start­ing line with them. After the race, place a cup of water in your runner’s hand as soon as they can stand up straight. Do not take them home until they have drunk it.

Race days are a big deal for run­ners. Most of them will want to talk your ear off about it afterward—and by that we real­ly mean ana­lyze every minute detail about what helped or hin­dered their per­for­mance, the count­less things they need to do dif­fer­ent­ly next time, and even­tu­al­ly declare what their race will be. All you have to do is nod, smile, and encour­age them to keep chas­ing their dream.

By: Audra Run­dle