The practice race 4 top tips to get your raceday routine right

NSPCC runnerThe practice race is a crucial part of your marathon training.

You've clocked up the miles and changed your lifestyle to incorporate your running. Now is the chance to put all those hard hours of training into action.

By signing up to a practice race you get the chance to experience what it's like to run in front of a crowd and - more importantly - share a course with other runners. This experience will stand you in good stead for marathon day.

Get the practice race right

Taking part in a half-marathon, a 10k or any kind of road race, is a great opportunity to experience genuine race conditions. Here are Full Potential's four top tactics to making the most of a pracitice race:

1. Practice your race-day routine

Find out what works and doesn't work for you. Everything from what to eat (and when) on race morning, your running kit and travel planning, to queueing for the toilet. All these details are important, so get them right before the big day.

2. Don't go off too fast

The crowd is cheering. You're excited. The adrenaline starts pumping and the race begins. If you start too fast, you'll empty your energy reserves and be gasping for breath long before the finish line. Stay calm and in control. Ease yourself into the race.

3. Focus on yourself

This will be the first time that you've competed for space on your route with other runners, instead of pedestrians. It's easy to panic when you see other people running past you. Don't worry. Focus on your pace and your time.

4. Be mentally tough

There's a point in every race when it starts to hurt and every runner asks themself the question: "Do I really want this?". This is where you dig deep and remind yourself of how hard you've trained to get to this point. You CAN push through the tough times.

Quick tip: core strength for runners

A strong core is essential for all marathon runners. Our expert running coaches, Full Potential, pick their top 5 exercises to develop serious core strength and boost your performance.