Runners count on our routines. Maybe it’s our OCD tendencies, or maybe it's superstition, but we all have things that make us feel confident before races. If you’re a runner, chances are you participate in the following pre-race rituals:
On race morning, you don’t just throw on any old singlet and pair of shorts. There are lots of factors to consider, so you try a few outfits. You check your look in the mirror. Shorts need to coordinate with tops. You plan the socks for each pair of shoes you pack in your race bag. Even though you always wear that go-to shoe for a race, you pack six other pairs, including the new pair you just purchased. Should you wear a visor or a hat? If it’s a hat, should you wear it forward or backwards? Maybe you even have a lucky headband that you wear to every race. Perhaps you choose a headband to complement each outfit option.
Now that you have figured out which outfit will give you the best possible chance, let’s hope it works with that bib. You never wait until morning to pin the bib onto your shirt. Placement takes precision and all four pins. Line it up. Straighten it. Double-check it in the mirror. Put the shirt on and move with the bib pinned on. Is it comfortable? Does it hit in the wrong spots? Maybe it needs to go on the shorts instead of the shirt. Placement of the bib is one of the key pieces for your race.
The food you eat the night before a race goes beyond pasta. Maybe you always eat fettuccini alfredo with chicken and a salad with ranch. And for dessert? Ice cream, of course. In the morning, breakfast consists of bananas and energy bars. You must consume bottles of water and your favorite flavor of energy drink.
The night before a race doesn’t mean sleep. It means naps between trips to the potty. You make a stop before heading to the race and make another at a porta-potty before lining up at the start.
Documentation of the day is critical. Pre-race selfie in that lucky race outfit. Group picture before the run. Even when you finish, you must continue the picture parade with a celebratory shot as you cross the line, hands in the air. You post them on social media to share the experience with all of your friends.
When all of the crucial elements are in place, you are ready for the magic to happen. As they say, running is physical and mental.
What are your race day lucky charms?