James Thorp, Run Theory coach and elite triathlete, has raced hundreds of races on three continents. Basically? He knows his stuff. Here are his top tips for everyday and advanced athletes preparing for their next big event, like the Australian Running Festival in April.

Practice your pre-race nutrition

Your pre-race meal should be tried and tested.  Don’t experiment before a big event, instead opt for a meal that you’ve eaten before a long or hard training session.  No one wants stomach cramps or worse mid race, so don’t take the risk.

Run some of your harder sessions in your race flats

Box fresh trainers may be your thing on a night out but the opposite is true on race day.  Make sure you run some hard training sessions in your race flats, so they are worn in and ready for action.  Blisters from a new pair of treads are a runner’s worst nightmare!

Know the course

As an experienced runner, make sure you know the course. If possible, get out and run (or drive) the route before race day.  Get familiar with the twists, turns, inclines and declines, that way if you find yourself leading the race you won’t take a wrong turn.

Warm up

Always warm up well before the race. It is extremely important to warm up with a jog and some pick-ups or strides before your race to decrease injury risk and improve performance.

Carefully select your starting position

If you are expecting to be near the front of the race, don’t be afraid to push your way forward in the coral, otherwise move yourself back to somewhere more realistic to ensure a smooth start for everyone.

Pace yourself

It is easy for experienced runners to get swept up chasing a podium position or a PB, but remember the race isn’t won in the first 500m. Sit in with a good group and tuck yourself in, out of the wind if possible.

Pack a spare pair of shoes in your post-race bag

There is nothing worse than walking around for the rest of the day in your racing flats. Maybe pack those box fresh trainers!

Cool down

A good race strategy doesn’t finish at the tape. Make sure you work the body back down through the gears before you head off an enjoy the post-race celebrations

Document your race

Don’t forget to take pictures, if you smash your PB it’s one you will want to remember and share! Most racing events will have their own photographer from which you can purchase high quality photos for a small price.

Be sure to thank the race directors and volunteers

They deserve the recognition and are often are the last to receive it. They work wholeheartedly to give you the best race day experience possible, before, during and after the event.