So the big day has arrived and you are bursting the traps trying to get out and own that mountain…well take note of the following pointers to avoid disaster. Every athlete at some stage or another has fallen foul to a couple of these…no matter what level they are at.


There is an old Irish proverb…

“You cannot fatten the pig the day before the mart”

Well this is so apt…So killing yourself the week of the race trying to make up for missed training sessions will do no good. A light run 2-3 days prior to the race will suffice. So by race day they you should be chomping at the bit!

Go to bed at a reasonable hour to allow for an early rise. The likelihood is you will need to be on the road early to get you to registration and give you time to warm up.


Eat normally. Nothing too fatty. Nothing with too much fiber either. Cereal, some toast, juice. Keep it healthy but not too much fruit. The following though I cannot stress enough. I have seen the horror stories unfold and to play with this is to dice with the devil…Do not rock up with a fist full of energy gels and think they will propel you over the finish line. If you haven’t slowly introduced them into your training, there is a possibility you body will reject them, especially further on into the race, and come hell or high water your body will want rid of them and it will not mind which way it exits…I have seen abandoned bikes along the way and heads squeamishly peeping over hedges (I think you get the picture). If you must, try take plenty of water with them. The recommended allowance is usually written on the wrapper. In the final 36 hours prior to race, eat normally and snack on carbohydrates. Plenty of water.

Get Your Kit In Order

It may sound obvious, but lay out all your kit the night before. For example, realizing you have forgotten something from your mandatory kit when you rock up the start…you will not be allowed to compete without it…full stop. When I prepare, I pack in order of use in the race. Visualize/plan the race out in your head and pack accordingly. Right a check list earlier on in the week and tick them off as you pack. Also to note, you should at all costs, avoid introducing untested gear e.g. new runners, socks etc. You could end up cutting the feet off yourself. Also practice tying your shoes properly to avoid heal abrasion. See this link for a quick tutorial on how to avoid it.


Sometime overlooked as we get ourselves into invincibility zone…Couple of points…

  • Trim your toe nails – If you don’t want to have to stop half through to see your new red socks.
  • Chafing – If you suffer from this, use a petroleum jelly like Vaseline.
  • Hair Gel – If you want looking like the Fonz on the day well expect stinging eyes.

Know Your Abilities

Its easy to get caught up in the moment but at the end of the day, you are only racing yourself. Go at your own pace. If you are with friends (who may be fitter than you) let them off, there is no shame in it. By now you should have a good idea of the level you are at. If you mimic Usain Bolt, you will burn out quickly and the rest of the race will be hell.

Hopefully these will help you get the most out of your day and all that hard work will have paid off.

#killarygaelforce #gaelforcedublin


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