Race RitualsApril 2, 2018 / byrunningwhilevegan / Categories :
Race rituals – most of us have ’em! In some ways I think they can be the Dumbo feather of races, as in, you put in the training or you didn’t, but race rituals still hold a near and dear piece of my heart. They make for little ways to prep and focus on your race!
I always need a little help in the hydration department, so race week I buy extra coconut water, Gatorade and even Pedialyte! YES, PEDIALYTE!
I will usually give up alcoholic drinks completely before a big race with a big goal – for a marathon I won’t drink for a week and a shorter race I won’t drink a few days prior. I’ll pick up some kombucha instead, which is satisfying as a special treat with it’s carbonation and varied flavors!
When I first started running, I was not a Gatorade drinker. I used to be, when I swam in high school (20 years ago), but had purchased it few and far between since then. As a distance runner, I have grown a taste for it again. I save it for half and full marathons. I will usually drink a 32oz bottle the night before a race, as I don’t like to drink too much race morning. I do NOT like to have to stop and use a port-o potty during a race (but I usually always have to at least once, especially for longer races). Not only are they time sucks, it is difficult to maneuver around in one without touching anything, perfecting a squat on shaky legs while making sure my waist belt and short stay perfectly balanced around my knees.
I’m also a huge, huge fan of coconut water! I drink these before and after training runs, and races, all the time! If you have a 99 Cents Store near you, I highly recommend hitting one up for coconut water. You can also find them at drug, grocery and liquor stores – basically anywhere beverages are sold.
The night before a race, I will have a Gatorade, coconut water and regular water. I don’t drink kombucha the night or day before, because it has dehydrating qualities, and even though the amount of alcohol is so super minimal, before a race I’m trying to PR, I just stay away. I also like to do a yoga video to get all stretched out and focused. The yoga videos relax me, and help me get into the areas that tend to bother me on longer runs, like my hips, back and knees!
The night, and even week before (especially for travel races) is an opportune time to gather all of my race gear. I tend to keep it all in one place, but that is not always the case! I have my pre-workout, my Nuun tabs, my Gu packs and energy bars (Clif and Luna are my favorite!). I pick up a lot of my gear at race expos because the prices are usually pretty low and there are some great deals! Sometimes I’ll save the energy gels I get on the course because I don’t always need them at the time. I also like to chew gum while I run! Lately that has fallen to the wayside since, with trying to gather everything else, I forget to buy it! I also like to have easy-to-digest food on me, just in case I need a pick-me-up but gel isn’t the answer (it can be tough on your stomach, and I can only handle so many). I found these Gutzy oatmeal and fruit packs at the 99 Cents Store, and I also like applesauce packs. Thus far Mamma Chia has been my favorite.
Race morning I don’t like to drink too much, because I swear I have the smallest bladder known to mankind. I did read an article that said 45 minutes before the race is fine, but nothing after that. The lines at the port-o potties get long during the race, and they tend to be pretty slow moving, which can be a major time suck, especially if you are going for a PR. I will drink coffee or a Red Bull on race morning for a little extra jazz – not too much coffee, think complimentary hotel lobby size.
Pickle juice is another liquid I like to consume race week!
Sleeping is tough because usually I’m too excited for the race to get a great night’s sleep beforehand. I try to get plenty of sleep leading up to the race because of this!
I used to like to grab a green juice for extra nutrients, but for some reason I stopped doing that. I’m thinking the cost was why I initially stopped, but it’s something I’d like to incorporate back in!
Breakfast the morning of is usually light, and varies from overnight oats, a banana, a bagel or an energy bar.
And how could I forget the flat runner?! Truth be told, I don’t always participate as I like to choose my clothes race morning! I usually have about two or three outfits in mind and then I go with my gut the morning of!
I used to live and die by these race rituals, but as I started traveling more for races, they started to fly out the window! I can’t control any of the factors going into a race (traffic, delayed flights, inability to find specific beverages in a new city), all I can control is my headspace and my training. Not always being able to indulge in my rituals has helped me realize that I don’t need them, which is why I referred to them as a Dumbo feather in the beginning. They definitely don’t hurt, and I have had very successful races when I’ve been able to have all my foods and beverages at my disposal, but I’ve also had successful races without them! I like to think of my rituals as good luck charms, but the truth is, my training will be the deciding factor on how long it takes to get to the finish line! What makes you happy getting to the start line, that can be just as important!
What are some of your race rituals? Let me know in the comments below!
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