Race Expo's - How-to
I thought I'd share some race expo tips. But please note that every expo is different, so I am relating thoughts based on the ones that I have been to.
1. If the expo is 2 days, go the first day. Not only will you have a better selection if you're looking to make some purchases, but you won't be wearing out your legs and feet the day before your big race.
2. Get your bib first. The most important reason you are there is to pick up that bib. Check the number, check the registration information, check to make sure all the maps and instructions you need are in the packet, ensure the shirt you get is the right size and looks like it'll fit. If the race has corrals, check your corral and make sure it corresponds with when you expect to finish. Most of the time you can change a corral at the expo if you were incorrectly assigned (or just made a wacky prediction because you're conquering a new distance and filled out the form 6 months ago).
3. Print out a map of the vendors, if available, and mark the ones you want to be sure to visit. If you have to go the day before a marathon, I suggest you come up with a game plan to only hit the vendors you care about and get out of there so you can rest your legs.
4. Bring a bag and enjoy the samples!!! If they have samples you can take with you, don't be shy, grab some. I love the sample size bars and such for a quick snack before a workout. If they just have samples out for tasting, go ahead and taste. There are a lot of different products out there for runners, and it's often uneconomical for us to buy things just to try them. This is your chance. But, again, if it's the day before the big race, be careful how much and what you are putting in your body.
5. Ask if there are any expo specials at each booth. Lots of times the vendors do not want to be stuck taking this stuff home, and it can't hurt to ask if there are any specials at the expo. Most of them will have some sort of special!
6. Bring your calendar. Sometimes there are registration tables for other races, and they offer a discount if you sign up for the race on the spot. You can't do that if you don't have your calendar with you to check the date. It's not a savings if you register only to find out that your sister is getting married that day.
7. If it is at all possible, do not bring your kids. I know, I'm a mother of 3, and I often have a very hard time breaking away from the kids, but race expos are usually crowded with thin aisles (and most won't allow strollers).
8. Do bring a bottle of water. You might end up walking around a bit, and this is not the time to mess with dehydration. Drink up!
9. Don't buy something that you plan to wear or use or eat on race day. Remember the race rule - nothing new! Unless you're buying a new color of something you already own... but even then, you never know... maybe this pair of socks is tighter, or this pair of shorts has the tag in a new place that'll chafe, etc. Enjoy the shopping, but save the prizes for another day.
10. Have fun! Just enjoy the opportunity to be surrounded by that many runners and all your favorite running gadgets. Enjoy the experience...