Crush Race Day Jitters

I’ve done a lot of races but no matter the distance I still get pre-race jitters.   I’ve learned that if I can’t get rid of them, at least I can set myself up properly so I know that I’m as ready as I can be.

Here are some tips to help you do the same.

Prepping the Day Before

Most races begin early in the morning so preparation, meal timing, etc. is key.

  • Eat an early dinner so you have enough time to digest.  You should know works for you from your training but as a reminder stick with pastas that aren’t heavy on the garlic or onions (lesson learned) and if you need a salad to help get things moving, have a small one.
  • A glass of wine is fine but remember that alcohol is dehydrating so you’re better off sticking with one.
  • Lay out your clothes, bib, pins, water bottle, fuel, hat, jacket, etc.
  • In your drop bag throw in a pair of flip flops for after the race, a jacket plus a small pouch for a few bucks and a place to stash your car or house keys.
  • If you will be able to eat breakfast at home set out all you’ll need for your meal.  Set the coffee pot and even set out your bowl, cup, etc.
  • Hydrate but don’t over-hydrate.  Drink to thirst and  you’ll be ok.
  • Get directions to the race and enter it into your phone.
  • Take 5-10 minutes to review your race plan (pace, splits, etc.) and visualize your run.  Repeat your mantras, meditate to clear your mind or just sit quietly.
  • Organize your music, charge your phone, etc.

The Morning of the Race

  • If you drink coffee, drink your coffee.  If you don’t drink coffee, today is NOT the day to start.
  • Drink some water.
  • Go to the bathroom.  (If you are not able to go to the bathroom don’t force it!  You’ll have a chance at the starting line.)
  • Get yourself SPF’d and Body Glided in the chafey spots.
  • Dress, pack your bag, gather your gear.
  • Eat breakfast.

The timing of breakfast is very personal.  For a marathon or a half I wake up and have a banana with my coffee.  Then I get dressed and prepare my oatmeal (always oatmeal topped nuts, berries and made with almond milk) and eat it 2 hours before the race starts.  If you worry about being hungry at the start, a few nibbles on your bar should do the trick.

At the Race

Get yourself to the starting line an hour or so before the race.  (Note: Some races you have to shuttle to the start and you may not have any option for timing.)  A lot of the pre-race stress can be avoided by allowing enough time to get to the race.

  • Find the porta potty and get in line.
  • If you can return to your car do that to hang out and relax.   Sip water as needed, nibble on your bar.
  • About 30 min prior to the start, unload your keys, change and other jangly items from your pockets so you’re not *that* annoying person and make your way towards the starting line.
  • But first, get back in line for the port potty. (Race day stomach distress is a thing and it can ruin your race.)
  • With 15-20 min to go, head to the bag drop area.  Drop your bag and head to the starting line.
  • Line up in your corral or by your pace time. Please don’t line up in the 9 min pace with your speedy friend if you run a 10 min pace.
  • Take the final few minutes to settle your mind and remind yourself of your race strategy and race plan.
  • Sing loudly along with the National Anthem.
  • Start your watch when you cross the starting line.
  • Have fun!

And remember, you never know what will happen on race day so just go out and do your best.  You’ve got this!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂




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