Pre-Race Tips To Race Your Heart Out

I’ve been running + racing for over 15 years now — so I know all too well the feeling of jitters you get before running a race! Here are my tricks to beating the pre-race jitters + being able to race your heart out! 

Do an easy workout – like yoga or a short walk/run to relieve some stress + shake out some tension! This is a great way to get rid of some nerves as well as keep your body feeling loose for the race tomorrow. The day before a race is NOT the day to try an intense new HIIT workout ; )

Start drinking plenty of water the day before your race! Making sure you are fully hydrated before you start running will help with feeling good for the entire race + making sure you don’t get dehydrated. You’ll be surprised at how the adrenaline the morning of might make it hard to drink water — so drink up ahead of time! 

Eating a meal rich in carbohydrates is a great way to fuel your body before a race. Your body will store most of the carbs you eat in your muscles + liver as glycogen — which can then easily be used as energy during your race! Focus on carbs that you like [I know I love simple buttered pasta noodles ; )] — but bread, fruit, etc is all great! Try to choose foods that you know are *safe* + won’t upset your stomach. 

Have your gear packed + ready to go for the early morning you’ll have on race day [I’m all about snoozing as long as I can!]. Things to make sure you have ready to go: 

  • Race day outfit 
  • Number pinned on your shirt 
  • Hair ties, bobby pins, etc 
  • Water bottle 
  • Gu, Gels, Fuel! 
  • Shoes + lucky socks ; ) 

++ Finally, try to get a good night’s sleep! Don’t sweat it if you’re too nervous [or excited!] to sleep well – but do your best. Sleep is the best recovery tool we have!

Yes — it’s smart to eat something the morning of your race! Wake up so that you’ll have plenty of time to eat + digest your breakfast beforehand. Hopefully you’ve played around with what breakfast is best for you prior to long runs you’ve had. My go-to is typically a banana with peanut butter + a piece of toast or english muffin! ++ Yes, coffee is OK to have – but have plenty of water too ++ make sure you have plenty of time to get to the bathroom ; )

Complete a dynamic warm up + treat your race like any other run. If you’d typically jog a mile prior to starting your long run, do that. If you had a set of dynamic exercises you’d complete – do those! Whatever you’ve found works for you prior to a long run is what will work for you prior to a race! 

This is by far the most important step to beating the pre-race nerves. Remember WHY you signed up to do this race + trust all of the hard work you’ve put in leading up to it! No matter what happens during the race — you’ve committed to something for 15+ weeks + have put in a ton of effort… if that isn’t already an accomplishment, then I don’t know what is! 

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I hope that by following these steps, you’re able to beat the pre-race nerves  + have an awesome race day experience! However, I did want to share — I don’t really get pre-race jitters anymore + it’s not because of any of these steps! 

Of course, I got pre-race jitters in high school before every cross country + track meet. After all, you want to do your best! I was on varsity every year, never wanted to let my teammates down, + thought that I *might* be able to run in college. However, during my senior year, spring track season… something changed. I realized that I wasn’t going to run in college [so no scholarship money on the line] + I remembered why I run: to have fun + make friends. So, why get nervous before a race? As long as I did my best + had fun, that was all that mattered. 

This is a reminder I still have to give myself every *race season* + when workouts don’t go as planned. I constantly remind myself that I am not making any money doing this — in fact, I’m paying money to do it! So I might as well have fun with it, use it to stay in shape + better myself, + make new friends : ) 

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PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!

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