So, I have run quite a few races. Like, I think this coming Monday’s Boston Marathon will be my 21st race in 5.5 years.
Ten of those races have been half marathons, and one a full marathon, so I have my pre-distance run routine down at this point.
When I first started running, I didn’t really understand what my body needed to be its best self on race day. Through sometimes embarrassing trial and error, I have figured it out. Here’s how my week before a race goes down these days!
7 days out:
- Begin stalking the weather report, and choose race day outfit options based on that report. This week, I realized that it is going to freaking pour for Boston. So I ordered a new waterproof jacket and waterproofing spray from Amazon.
- Do laundry and make sure to wash all components of my race-day attire.
- Buy any food I will need for race week. For example: I don’t eat a ton of bread during my normal week, but during race weeks I go through quite a bit of it. Also, I check my stalk of gels to make sure I have what I need!
- Check in with friends and family members about how I’m getting to the starting line, and who will be at the finish.
- Consider my pace and do some math to figure out where I’m going to be on the course and when. That way, if I have a friend who wants to watch, I can give them a 45minute-1hr window when I’ll be passing by their spot.
- Start going to bed earlier. I try to get 8+ hours of sleep every night for a week leading up to a race.
- Stop strength training my lower body. I kinda stopped this like 2 weeks ago due to my hectic schedule, but officially I should have just cut it out for one week.
- HYDRATE! I try to stay extra hydrated the week prior to a race
- Stretch, roll, ice, and run easy paces only. I try to go into race day with totally chill muscles and no lingering aches and pains.
3 days out:
- Start getting nit-picky about what I am eating. I try to keep away from super high-fiber foods like raw carrots and beans. I also steer clear of foods that specifically don’t work well for MY tummy, like onions and apples. I stick to super basic stuff: rice and chicken and toast and bananas.
- Start REALLY hydrating. Like, for serious, so much water is consumed.
- Stop running. From here on out it’s just yoga, and walking. No spinning or running.
- Check the forecast for real and solidify my outfit. I then take pictures of that outfit to send to my friends and family who will be watching.
- Confirm all my transportation plans. If anyone is tentative at all, find another option. When you’re about to run 13-26 miles, you need to know how you’re gonna do it.
- Keep stretching and rolling!
- Cut my toenails. TMI? I think not.
- Start wearing sneakers only. No use risking a twisted ankle or a blister for fashion!
- Plan out my race day food and double check that I have everything I need.
1 day out:
- Make sure to get a good night of sleep! Studies say that 2 nights before a race is the sleep that really impacts your performance.
- Try not to do too much. I maybe walk (in comfortable shoes) for like, 30 minutes. I sometimes take a yoga class. I watch some TV and try to keep my nerves in check.
- Pick up your bib number!! I am picking up my bib for Boston on Friday afternoon because I am very nervous and want to get it before things get nuts. Waiting til morning of can be so, so hectic. So if you can help it, grab your bib beforehand.
- Eat normal portions of carb-rich food. Like, I don’t typically eat PB&J on white bread and pasta and toast. But I have those the day before a race. I don’t stuff myself, but I do prioritize carbs.
- HYDRATE! I try to take in double my normal amount of water on this day.
- Go to bed early. I (admittedly) pop half a benadryl and a melatonin around 8pm the night before a race. It’s not, like, the cleanest most natural habit but it gets me to sleep so I can wake up bright and early the next morning to get to the starting line!
Let me know if you have any pre-race customs that you hold on to; I’d LOVE to hear them.
I’ll be back with a bit of a preview of race weekend at the end of this week:) And I’ll have a Boston Marathon race recap up and running next Tuesday!