After weeks and months (and sometimes years) of training, race day is finally here.
But after all of the training and miles and preparation, are there things that you can do the night before a race that may cause you problems in the morning?
In a word, yes.
Suggestions for the Night Before a Race
Here are 4 things you can do the night before a race to help ensure you make it to the start line in the morning without an issue.
Eat What You Know
I’m not a big fan of the eating a plateful of pasta the night before a race.
That much pasta is a recipe for GI disaster for me, and to be honest there is only so much glycogen your body can store before your race. And if you’ve been tapering properly and eating normally, you’re probably pretty darn close to full.
That said, if you always head to Olive Garden for all you can eat pasta the night before a race AND you don’t have any issues, go for it!
The key is to eat the foods that you know work for you.
Hopefully, you’ve been paying attention to what food works for you the night before your long runs throughout your training, so you will have a good idea of what to eat the night before a race.
If you haven’t been eating a heaping helping of fettuccini the night before your training runs, my advice would be to steer clear of it the night before a race.
Know Your Breakfast Options
While many runners pay a lot of attention to the food they are eating the night before a race, I feel like equal attention needs to be paid to what you’re eating on race morning.
What do you eat before a race?
If you’re a banana and coffee kind of runner, you probably don’t worry much about pre-race breakfast.
But if you’re like me, who eats all the things the morning of a big race, figuring out what options will be available can be tricky.
Because if a race is starting at 6 am I’m probably going to want to eat around 3 so I’ll have plenty of time to digest.
And depending on where you are for your race, 3 am may not provide you with the options you would prefer.
Plan for that the night before a race.
If you’re staying in a hotel with a restaurant/room service, know what time those options will be available. Even if your race doesn’t start until 8 am, you may not have time to get your meal and digest it before you have to leave for your race.
If you’re going to need to head to a Denny’s for breakfast at 3 am, do you know where the nearest one is located?
Make sure you know what you’re going to do for breakfast before you go to bed, so you’ll have one less thing to think about while you’re trying to fall asleep.
Make Sure You Have All Your Things
Before you hit the sack, make sure you’ve checked and double-checked that you have everything you’ll need for the race.
There’s nothing quite like waking up at 4 am for a race to realize that you forgot to pack a pair of socks. Or that you don’t have your fuel.
Or that your Garmin is dead…
Plug in your watch. Plug in your phone.
Make sure you have safety pins and Tailwind and your sunglasses and everything else you’ll need before you call it a night.
It’s hard enough, for me at least, to quiet my mind and get some good rest the night before a race. But by making sure that everything is ready to go before you crawl into bed, you’re giving your brain a chance to relax a bit so you can catch a few winks before the alarm goes off.
Try to Relax
I know, easier said than done.
That said, do what you can to make the night before a race feel like any other night.
If that means having a beer or a glass of wine, go for it. If that means a little hanky panky between the sheets, by all means, hanky and panky!
Try to keep your normal bedtime routine intact as much as you possibly can, and hopefully, that will help you drift off to sleep quickly and get as much rest as possible.
And If it All Goes to Hell?
You can do everything right the night before a race, and you can still lay in bed tossing and turning for hours.
If that happens, don’t worry. You’ll be fine.
Yes, in a perfect world, you’ll have 6-8 solid hours of sleep the night before a race.
But this isn’t a perfect world.
Do your best to set yourself up for success the night before a race.
And however things go that night, once race day arrives go out there and hammer it!
How Do You Relax and Get Some Rest the Night Before a Big Race?
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