There’s nothing like the morning of race day. I wake up feeling pumped, excited and ready to tackle the challenge ahead of me.
But I don’t always stay that way. Depending on the race, that pumped up vibe can quickly transform to a frustrated, annoyed and irritated vibe. Which is not how you want your athletes going into the race.
So how do you make sure you’re not that race? How do you keep your athletes pumped on race day?
You know what really pumps up this athlete on race day?! When a race has its stuff together.
There’s nothing that kills my race morning buzz quicker than turning into the parking lot and finding that organizational hell has broken loose. There’s no parking, there’s a mile long line to pick up your race registration packet, people have zero idea where the starting line is and the volunteers have no idea how to pull up online race registrations or give out numbers at bib assignment.
UGH. MAJOR buzzkill.
Look, your athletes are already pumped going into race day. If you want to keep them that way, don’t blow it before the race even starts. Be organized and make the race day experience as seamless as possible for them.
Invest In Entertainment
There’s nothing like some good ol’ race day entertainment to get the party started and get your athletes PUMPED. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need a band, or a DJ, or - horror or horrors - clowns (for the love of protein bars, please don’t get clowns…they’re terrifying, not entertaining). It just means that you have to have fun things to keep us entertained on race day.
Have your staff or sponsors lead a pre-race stretch session. Have a photo booth for athletes to take pictures to post on social media. Have a pushup contest, or a dance off, or WHATEVER…just entertain us.
And don’t think that the entertainment should be confined to the start or finish line. If you want your athletes to stay pumped (especially if it’s a longer course), pepper in additional entertainment on the course (my personal favorite are marching bands or dance troupes. AWESOME).
Keep Them Fed and Hydrated
I know I sound like a broken record with how much I talk about feeding us on race day, but it’s important (not to mention that I’m always hungry, so I ask people to feed me pretty much always). Your athletes are there on race day to put in work and get their run/swim/bike/climb on, and they’re not going to be able to stay pumped and push through the rough points of the race if their stomach is in knots and they’re dying of thirst. You see what I’m saying?
Make sure you have plenty of hydration stations on your course, and have food at the start and finish line (and along the course if you’re a 10K or longer).
Schwag, Schwag, All The Schwag
You know what pumps up this athlete (and pretty much every other athlete) more than anything else after a long and sweaty race? SCHWAG, of course!
There’s nothing to keep that pumped up race day feeling going well past the finish line quite like a big bag of free stuff. Make sure you have your schwag bag essentials, and your athletes will be pumped from the finish line to their post race binge and all the way to nap time.
Alright folks, with these tips, you’ll have your athletes so pumped on race day they’ll petition to change your title from Race Director to Master of Hype. You can decline, of course, but still - it’s the thought that counts.