We’ve all had that dream, right? The one where you’ve overslept before a big event, forgotten your running shoes, or showed up at the start line dressed for work?

Pre-race jitters can manifest themselves in any number of ways, from that antsy feeling during the taper to those not-so-welcome “what if?” dreams. Recently, I even had the race director’s version — a nightmare in which I could not, for the life of me, find the finish line winner’s tape. (Rest assured, we have it).

We may not be able to eliminate all of our pre-race nerves — or even want to. After all, a bit of nervous energy can provide a competitive boost when the gun goes off. But in the interest of keeping your nerves in check — and sleeping well at night — there are some important steps you can take to calm the butterflies and feel race-ready.

Trust the taper
By now, your training miles have peaked, and you’ve entered the period of gradually decreasing mileage known as the taper. It’s normal to feel antsy during this time. You may feel like you need to add extra mileage to be truly prepared for the big race. Resist that urge.

At this point, the best thing you can do is trust the taper. This is a period of time that allows your muscles to recover and get ready for your race-day effort. You’ve put in the hard work; the race is your reward — and a proper taper will help get you to the start line healthy. Think of that antsy feeling as stored energy.

Get inspired — and talk shop with your fellow runners
Our Women’s Inspiration Dinner on Friday, October 7 is the perfect chance to get inspired — and to share some pre-race camaraderie with your fellow runners. Women’s running icon Colleen Kelly Alexander will keynote the event at 6 p.m., and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk shop with other half marathon participants before and after her address. Talking about your jitters can help ease them — and remind you that you’re not alone.

REMEMBER, admission to the Women’s Inspiration Dinner is included in your race registration fee. We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Study the course
For many runners, knowing the course can ease some anxieties come race day. Check out our online course information and maps, and feel free to bike or drive parts of the course to familiarize yourself.

Know where you’ll park (and it’s really convenient this year!)

Remember, the race course has changed so parking is simple and plentiful! Participants may park in the Pine Street or Main Street ramps, or in the WPS lots north of the KI Convention Center.  Click here for complete information on race-day parking and relay shuttles.

Lay out your clothes
There’s nothing worse than running around on race morning searching for your bib or trying to find that left shoe, safety pin or hair tie. We recommend setting out everything you’ll need, from attire to fuel to gear check bag, the night before. You’ll feel better prepared and you’ll get out the door more quickly.

Set two alarms
Worried about that early wake-up call? Setting two alarms will help you sleep easier — and may just prevent a race-morning scramble. It will also give you time to digest that pre-race meal, ensuring you’re ready to go at the start line.

Arrive early
Always, always arrive early on race day! The KI Convention Center will open at 6:30 am so you will have a place to gather, meet your friends and get prepared for a great event.

Remember, race day is your reward. Take a few simple steps to ease those nerves and make it as enjoyable as possible. We’ll see you at the start!