Race Day Rituals

When it comes to training for a race, sometimes the training plan isn’t the hard part. Even the actual training isn’t always the hardest part. If you’re like me and get on the plan that works for you, it’s easy to stick to it. At least mentally. The right plan takes the guesswork out of trying to decide when to run, rest, and cross-train. So once you find the race you want to run and the plan that works for you, means you’re set. Right?

Not necessarily.

I remember my second half marathon. I’d been training with friends and was feeling good. We’d driven down to Wilmington, NC, together the night before. And I remember suddenly getting really nervous. I didn’t really know what to eat for the next day, or even that morning, and I felt really nervous about whether or not I had packed the right gear. Needless to say, my stomach was basically in knots the morning of the race, and as a result, I could not get my body to cooperate in the way I wanted it to (ahem, #runnerproblems).

The funny thing is, my first half marathon was in Lisbon, Portugal. I think I was so excited to be in Lisbon at one of the biggest races in the world that I didn’t even think to be nervous about anything. Going into my second half, it was almost like I knew too much, and that alone gave me butterflies in my stomach.

Flash forward 8 years: I know more about my body, nutrition, and cross training, but I still struggle with a routine for the night before and morning of a race. So to get ready for the Gixo 5k, I turned to my ever-knowledgeable Sweat Pink fam to see what the pros recommend. Check it out!  

Marrah: Eat pasta the night before! Fave combo: penne, broccoli, garlic, spinach, olive oil, and sometimes parmesan cheese.


Jennifer: After an evening with some feelings of dread, and maybe some tears, Jennifer wakes up early the morning before a marathon. The magic race day breakfast? Oatmeal, a banana, and some OJ. And a couple sips of coffee, just to get things moving… Immediately before getting into the corral, gotta hit the porta potty for a last minute pit stop!

Marsha: I won a coffee mug at a half marathon where I placed in my age group (big deal for me!) so I always drink my race morning coffee out of my winning mug 😉

Carleeh: Every night before I lay out my “flat carleeh” and pick out my momentum wrap. I make a playlist specifically for what I want to feel on race day and themed to the race. Race morning I listen to a pump playlist and eat a banana, drink some nuun.

Kristine: I’ve gotten my “night before” routine down to a t (for me!) so mornings are super easy and slightly less stressful. Set out my clothes (including the ‘throw away” long sleeve/sweatshirt). Make sure all my gear is ‘ready’ – tuck my ID, a CC, insurance card, and chapstick into my running belt (room key too if I’m out of town). Make sure all my tech is ready – headphones charged (and turned off); playlists created (and downloaded to my phone); phone charging and alarm set. Check to make sure any tracking/music apps are updated too. All my gear/tech goes near my clothes, so nothing is forgotten. I also make sure I review where I need to go (shuttle location, start line, parking lot etc) and write a note so I don’t have to think about it in the morning.

Debbie: Coach Debbie has ALL the tips: 29 things you should do the night before race day!

Sara: The night before a race I paint my nails, apply a temporary tattoo to my thigh (I current have snazzy silver ones) and watch junk TV (often Forensic Files or the like). It’s fun, it’s familiar, and it keeps me from thinking/overthinking the coming race day.

They gave us tats for my second half in the runner registration packs! So fun!

Vanessa: I almost always watch the fun run episode of The Office the night before a race 🤣


Another great running episode from a classic show? The One Where Phoebe Runs on Friends!


Jamie: For me, my race day rituals are all about simplicity. I try to keep everything – from the food I eat, my race preparation, and even activities – as simple and stress-free as possible so that I can feel rested and ready come race day. For my nutrition, I prefer to eat simple foods – things like rice bowls with veggies, avocado and eggs – things I can rely on for energy and healthy protein to get me through race day. When it comes to race prep, I like to lay my gear out the night before the night before so I don’t even to have think about it until I’m getting dressed on race morning. Once race day finally arrives, I like to have either a smoothie with banana, chia seed, peanut butter, and Amazing Grass protein powder or toast with peanut butter and jelly and a banana. Again, simple. Once I’m at the starting area, my biggest goal is to stay away from the big crowds until close to the start time as I don’t like being around all the nervous energy. I like to find a place to quietly and calmly prepare myself for what’s ahead.

A post shared by Jamie King (@jamiekingfit) on

What are your upcoming races, and what’s your ritual to get ready for them? Join us on May 5th for the Gixo 5k or 10k! It’s a virtual race through the Gixo app, so you can tune in from anywhere and everywhere, with anyone and everywhere! BONUS: Gixo has a 7 day free trial if you sign up for the app after April 29th, and then the race is FREE!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Gixo. All opinions are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Sweat Pink community.

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Fit tip of the day, Fitness, race

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Fit tip of the day, Fitness, race


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