Here I am! Only one day stands between me and my very first half marathon finish.
In an effort to relinquish any pre-race jitters I may have, I made the executive decision to take Friday off and headed west-ward to Nashville a day early for the Country Music Half Marathon. This will give me plenty of time to sleep in, register for the race before the hoards descend, maybe take a nap, run some last minute errands, sneak in another nap, and have a lazy day.
I would be lying if I said I haven’t been anxious about my Saturday endeavors. Not to mention slightly stressed and sleep deprived – I have an irrational fear of forgetting something of great importance, like my shoes or, God forbid, my phone arm band. Nothing a few cupcakes can’t fix…
Aside from this, I’m feeling pretty good. I plan on sharing my training plan with the world but I want to get through the race first to a.) ensure that I finish and b.) to see if there is anything I would have wished I had done differently to better prep myself.
I’m a sucker for a good to-do list and today is no exception. The day before a race is actually kind of a big deal and can absolutely make the difference between a great run and a bad one. So here is my list of pre-race rituals that work best for me.
Top 10 Pre-Race Rituals
- Eat a good breakfast of something your body is used to. For me, it’s a bowl of oatmeal with a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter. Some say to lay off the caffeine and I think that’s just crazy. I’m addicted and there’s nothing you can do to stop me, so coffee I have. I also try to sneak in a multivitamin as well.
- Stay hydrated -this is a no brainer. Haul around a water bottle for the day and make it your goal to drink a bottle-ful at least every couple hours. For the moment, the weather for this weekend is looking pretty fabulous……fabulous for someone who plans on spending the day lounging poolside and sipping mojitos, not so much for someone embarking on a long run. The warmer the weather, the more you need to drink. Neon pee is the enemy today.
- Speaking of weather…be prepared! Keep an eye on the weather report and plan your outfit accordingly. My rule is whatever the temperature is, add 20 degrees and that’s what it will feel like while running. 60 degrees may sound cold, but 80 is not so it may not be the best idea to wear leggings and a t-shirt when shorts and a tank would be best. Bring an old sweatshirt to the race if you are chilly and discard it before you start. Most races will donate this clothing to charity so don’t feel bad about throwing it to the side of the road.
- Solidify plans. Do you have a gaggle of friends and family coming to watch you? Figure out where you plan on meeting them after the race too avoid crowd chaos. Going at it alone? Have an ‘in case of emergency’ plan if something happens and you need a ride.
- Get loose. The extent of my exercise tomorrow will consist of a slow 20-30 minute walk around the neighborhood. Something to loosen me up and thats about it. You don’t want to exert yourself today – conserve your energy!
- Don’t eat anything too heavy or too strange for lunch or dinner. I’m all about carbo-loading to the max, just not when a have a big race the next day. A fist size portion of pasta is probably all you need to suffice for a good dinner. And I know that veal parmesan looks divine, but if you haven’t had veal in a while, steer clear. You DO NOT want any strange after-effects wreaking havoc on your insides the next morning.
- Lay out your clothes and bag the night before. This includes your pre-race snacks and all your gear. When you wake up, you want to be focused on running well, not where your socks are.
- Set two alarms – just in case. Set the alarms for a few minutes before you think you need to get up – just in case. Nothing is worse than waking up in a panic and rushing to get to the start on time. Trust me, as punctuality has never been my forte.
- Try to get some sleep. I can never sleep well before races, or if anything is weighing on me for that matter. The good news is, deprivation has never affected my performance so a good 8 hours sleep will not make or break you, but it will make waking up far easier.
- Pump yourself up. Read affirmations, talk to supportive friends, and stay motivated. Even if you may not feel like it, what you are doing is awesome and you should be proud!
Happy Friday everyone!