Race Day Guidelines
The day before a race, bring a 1.5 liter bottle of water to school and drink it throughout the day. You will have to use the restroom a lot, but it ensures that you’re well hydrated for the race the next day. If you forget to drink at school, drink in the evening. Eat a well-balanced dinner of a protein such as chicken or fish, a whole grain side such as brown rice or quinoa and a salad and/or fruit. Be sure to get enough sleep. Eight hours is ideal.
The morning of the race, eat a whole grain bagel or similar bread product or energy bar about three hours before your scheduled race time. Do not eat dairy products, as lactose takes a long time to digest. Drink a 0.5-liter water bottle in the morning also. Each week we rotate between grade level as to who are in charge of bringing snacks for the team. Different boys are assigned to carry the easy-up canopy from the shed to the buses.
Before the race, make sure you get your race number or tag from a coach. Get to know the course as well as possible. You can ask an upperclassman to show it to you, most likely they have run it before.
Begin warming up 45 minutes before your race. Wear your warm-ups or sweats to retain your body heat. You should get your teammates together and jog for 15 minutes. Then have someone lead drills and stretches for 15 minutes. The last 15 minutes should be spent putting on racing flats, getting to the starting line and doing strides. Wear your sweats to the line and then give them to a designated person to take back to the canopy.
After the race, change back into your trainers and warm-ups. Drink at least a bottle of Gatorade or water. Jog a 15-minute cool down with your teammates. Running more is probably the last thing you’ll want to do after a race, but it is important to purge the lactic acid that you have built up during the race. You will be less sore later if you run a cool down. After the cool down, rope stretch and head back to the course to cheer on your team mates.
What to bring to a Meet
• Water for before the race (at least .5 liters)
• Gatorade for after the race (about a liter)
• Uniform (singlet and shorts)
• Warm-ups or sweats
• Trainer shoes, racing flats, and socks
• A blanket/towel to lay on
• Running shorts to change into when it gets warm (uniform shorts are really short)
• Small safety pins (if you have them from a previous race)
• iPod with pump-up music
• Sun protection as it gets hot at some of the meets
Preparing to watch your first Cross Country race
When you arrive at the meet site look for our Lakewood Lancer parent tent and ask to see a map of the course. First, locate the start and finish, then try to scout central points where you can see as much of the race with as little moving around as possible. Many schools share our red, white and black uniform colors, so try to observe the differences while teams are warming up before the start. Be aware that our league meets feature six boys and girls races at various levels with six teams and last about three hours. We will have informed your son or daughter about the correct race division and time beforehand. Some of our Saturday invitational, however, have as many as 100 teams and a schedule of races that last all morning and much of the afternoon.
Do not expect the attention of your son of daughter once at the meet. The athletes need time to warm up on the course, be briefed by their coaches, and prepare for the race. Many parents are initially surprised at the seriousness their son or daughter shows prior to and during a race. The intensity of competition may reveal a side of your young athlete’s personality you haven’t seen before.
During the race, you can move from point to point along the course to cheer the runners as they pass. Be careful, however, to stay off the runners’ path and out of their way. Rules also forbid running alongside a competitor to pace or encourage him or her.
At the finish of the race, the runners file through a finish chute. It’s OK to greet them then, but they may have to report to their coach for a quick debrief. Our runners have responsibilities after a race. We expect them to jog and cool-down as a team and actively support their teammates who have yet to race. Some runners are more spent than others after a race. Typical symptoms of their effort and fatigue are breathlessness, general weakness, rubbery legs, glassy eyes, salivating and sometimes nausea. A mistake parents sometime make is to take their sons or daughters off by themselves to try to take care of them. Please do not do this! Our coaches are experienced in dealing with these symptoms and are responsible for their care. To aid recovery, water is the best thing to drink immediately after a race.
Expect the possibility of some disappointment by your athlete after the race if his or her team did not win, and/or if he or she failed to achieve all goals. Athletes may need some emotional space afterward from you and their coaches. Later on, they will need verbal support rather than criticism.
Once an away meet is over, if your son or daughter came on our bus, please do not take him or her home with you without first checking with a coach.We are legally bound by state law for athletes’ safe transport to and from the meet. You need to know that high school athletes are not allowed to drive themselves to a meet, and afterward, we can release them only to you. Be advised that we prefer our athletes travel to and from meets with their teammates. It is an important part of the experience and continued development of their team unity. I feel strongly that many of the best memories of the sport your child will remember are their times laughing and sharing stories on the team bus. Especially after the meets.