Friday Five: Race Day Rituals

Today’s Friday Five topic is on the general theme of fitness- since I have a race this weekend I thought I’d talk about my race day rituals and what I typically do pre-race!


I do a lot of traveling for races. Most of the races I run aren’t in my area and as such, I typically stay with friends/family or in hotels prior to the actual race. This means that I don’t have the familiar territory of being at home and being able to plan- I have to plan for all variables ahead of time. While this can be a challenge for some, I’ve gotten used to it and typically do pretty well in destination races, maybe because I’ve done them so often over the last two years! Here are some of my go-to pre-race rituals.

1. Always eating at restaurants I’m used to

  • While I usually advocate trying new places when in a new city, the night before a race is not the time to deviate from your typical pre-race food. For this weekend’s 10k, I’m currently debating between steak and rice bowls or Italian food, both of which I’ve eaten before. There are several places in Orlando where I can obtain either type of food, so this won’t be an issue, but it’s important to research these places prior to traveling for a race so you know where ‘your’ restaurants are.
  • The tex mex bowl at Chili's- yum.
    The tex mex bowl at Chili’s- yum.

2. Packing extra running clothes

  • Lately I’ve been a fan of the whole “pack light” theory, especially since my trips are usually only for a few days over the weekend. But with the unpredictable weather here in Florida, I always pack a second race outfit and a light jacket just in case. I also check the weather once a day several times an hour to be certain I’m not missing anything.
  • With the exception of the activities for the kids- yes, the woman packing is me lol
    With the exception of the activities for the kids- yes, the woman packing is me lol

3. Resting the night before

  • As tempting as it is to explore a new city or even go out with friends I haven’t seen in a while, the night before a race I typically order take out and chillax in my hotel room or the house I’m staying at. I don’t want to wear myself out prior to race day!

4. Packet pick up/scouting the course

  • This serves a double purpose- not only do I get to get the packet before the actual race morning so I’m not in such a rush to check in and get settled; I also have the opportunity to see what type of course I will be running and what’s located nearby. This time I’m running the 10k version of a race I did two years ago and it’s in the same area it was last year, so I’m pretty familiar with that area and the course itself. But it never hurts to know what you’re up against! For example, the first time I did this race, it was a cobblestone path most of the time, which tripped me up a bit since I wasn’t used to running on an uneven surface. Now I know to expect this so I can adjust accordingly!
  • I may or may not have just registered for this race to get this medal...
    I may or may not have just registered for this race to get this medal…

5. Arrive an hour early to stretch and get mentally in ‘the zone’

  • I always like to be early to events- it helps me clear my head, warm up, stretch and settle any nerves I have. It also gives me ample time to go to the bathroom pre-race because, let’s face it, port-o-potty lines can be long!
  • Every runner can understand this.
    Every runner can understand this.

    What are some of your race day/pre-race rituals? Are you an obsessive weather checker? Travel often or stay local?


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