My Top 5 Pre-Race Rituals


Every runner has one.  A pre-race routine that can’t be shaken…and if it is, you face certain doom…at least that’s what your mind tells you.  I’m not a superstitious person.  I do however have a set routine when it comes to racing.  I try to follow it to the T.  However, I’ve raced enough to know that things can go wrong.  You wake up the night before the race with the stomach bug, you lose one of your shoes you plan to run in several days before the race, you forget to go to the store for bagels and bananas,  a kid wakes up sick or having had a nightmare.  Every one of these things has happened to me.  So, you learn to be flexible.  However, when you can, you love to stick to your routine.  It makes you feel prepared and it’s kind of like the final piece of the “race prep” puzzle. You’ve put in months of training and now it’s time to get everything ready to roll.  So what do I do?

1.  First and foremost, sleep.  I know I won’t get a great nights sleep the night before the race.  So, in preparation for that, I go to bed at least an hour earlier 2 and 3 nights before race day.  It helps me mentally because I know even if I don’t sleep the night before the race, I’ve done my part to get to the starting line rested.  I have the most unbelievable mattress known to man.  Several years ago my back was killing me and we realized(duh) that our mattress was as old as we were.  Not quite, but almost.  Gross.  So, we got a new one and now I sleep like a baby most of the time.  It’s worth the investment.  So, before the big race, get SLEEP.  It’s also so important when you are training.  Sometimes we neglect the rest…don’t.  Your body needs time to recover and mend.  Get your sleep people.  Need a new mattress??  Check out my friends at Casper Mattresses for some great finds.  They will not let you down, I promise.  They are not only a great product but a super cool company.  I’ve been so impressed.  Their mattresses include memory foam and latex to give you comfort and keep you cool.  Anyway, they have a great business and are located right here in the USA so I encourage you to go check out their company and product.  Moral of the story….sleep is important, especially for athletes.

2.  Lay out everything the night before

Lay out everything…down to your bra.  Pin your number to your shirt or attach it to your race belt.  Pack your race fuel and bag if you plan to check one.  Have whatever you are going to eat out on the kitchen counter, coffee in the coffee pot ready to brew.  You name it, do it.  Better to be overprepared than underprepared.


3.  Set one thousand alarms
I’m only kidding.  Sort of.  It doesn’t hurt to have several alarms set..just in case.  There is nothing worse than waking up late and having to rush to the starting line.  Leave yourself plenty of time to get up, eat, have your coffee if you prefer…..go to the bathroom…ahem…and get to the race site.  I like to have my phone set to several alarms and I have my husband set his too just in case.  I get overly paranoid the night before the race that I’m going to oversleep.  Personally, with all the adrenaline that starts pumping sleeping through my alarm seems impossible, but you never know.  Plus, I HATE rushing.

  4.  Shower

This may seem weird.  Why on earth would you shower before you go run and sweat and get all kinds of nasty?  I love taking a nice warm shower on race day because it wakes me up and loosens me up.  I don’t ever do this before long runs, only before races.  It’s just something I started a long time ago that I can’t not do.

Don’t I look clean?  It’s because I showered
5.  Spaghetti
Spaghetti has become my go to pre race meal.  I don’t eat a giant portion and I ususally make it myself if I’m racing in my home town.  I get nervous about going out to dinner the night before the race.  I want control over what I eat that night.  Homemade spaghetti and meatballs is my favorite.  It’s filling and I don’t need to gorge myself on it.  If I’m traveling I usually prefer Italian because you can get a little pasta and avoid fries and burgers.  I don’t like anything greasy or heavy the night before.  It’s an important meal, do it right.  Save the splurge for the night of the race once you’ve finished.  After my last marathon I had In N Out.  I’d been craving it for months!!
Um….I like ketchup
So there you have it.  Nothing too weird or quirky.  My Pre-Race routine that I stick to almost every time.  Except the times my kid hides my shoe or someone wakes up with the stomach flu.  It happens.  Sticking to a routine is awesome and takes so much mental stress away the night before the race.  But, I’ve also learned to be flexible.  Life happens.  You bank months of training for everything to go right on ONE day.  It’s kind of a lot to ask for.  Happy racing friends!!!
Do you have any weird pre-race rituals or routines?  Come on, I’m sure you do!  Share them!  

6 comments on “My Top 5 Pre-Race Rituals

  1. Dani, the shower is totally the way to go. I like your idea of not having a lot of time to put it off. I think sometimes I give myself too much time lol. Too much time to back out!

  2. I totally agree about not getting enough sleep the night before! Forget it. I never though of showering before but I love the idea of another way to get loose before the race! One thing I do is set an alarm that gives me just enough time to hop out of bed and get my shoes on but not enough time to procrastinate! It usually works for the most part. I loved your list!! Happy running! xoxo

  3. I hardly ever get enough sleep the night before a big race if we are out of town. I will take your advice on getting extra the nights before then. I also try and eat more carbs the night before. In the morning I try and have 1/2 bagel, some bites of banana maybe but only a few sips of water. Then about 20mins out I squeeze down a GU. 🙂 All great pre-race ideas you have!

  4. Showering is definitely a pre-race req. It just wakes me up and makes me feel less grubby for at least a couple of hours. 😉

    Also, pre-race dinner: PIZZA.

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