Race Day Rituals – What To Do Before a Race

Race Day Rituals - What do to before a race! | read more at happilythehicks.com

With only a few days left till our half marathon, it’s time for my last addition to my half marathon tips series… At least this time around! I honestly can’t believe our race is finally here. I feel like it was just yesterday that we were signing up for it, and now here we are prepping for the big day. It’s been a tough past few months balancing our training schedule with everything else going on, but I know we are ready for it, and I’m getting more and more excited the closer we get to Sunday. I don’t know if we’ll PR, but I know I’ll spend the time enjoying the course, hanging out with my husband, and looking forward to eating #allthefood once we’re finished. 

Isaac and I have run a lot of races together. The first time we ever high-fived was after our first cross country meet senior year when we both came in 27th place. Since then we have done numerous 5Ks, four 10Ks, and (after Sunday) 3 half marathons. Throughout all those races, we’ve developed some race day rituals to help prep us for the race, both mentally and physically. Today I’m sharing them with you, and hope they help you out if you are running a race soon! 

Race Day Rituals - What do to before a race! | read more at happilythehicks.com

Race Day Rituals

Day Before the Race

We try not to do anything too strenuous the day before a race (especially before a half marathon), so we can avoid any accidental injuries, and to make sure we’re not sore and tired the next day. We do make sure to either go on a walk or easy run to keep our muscles loose and ready for the race. 

I avoid (as much as possible) eating lots of fibrous foods like vegetables throughout the entire day. The last thing I want to do is hurt our time because I had to stop to use the restroom in the middle of a race! But let me tell ya’… I sure do miss my greens when I can’t eat them. 

Drink LOTS of water! You need to start hydrating for your race the day before, to ensure your body is primed and ready. Especially if it’s going to be warm during your run, you’ll want to hydrate hydrate hydrate! We LOVE using ZipFizz in our water, because it has lots of vitamins and minerals, potassium and electrolytes that our bodies need. (It’s also a great post race drink as well!)

Race Day Rituals - What do to before a race! | read more at happilythehicks.com

Night Before the Race

It’s time to carb load! Our favorite meal to enjoy the night before a race is a bowl of mac and cheese, some rotisserie chicken and a cinnamon sugar sweet potato for dessert. That meal is perfect because we’re getting lots of carbs, protein and fats that our body will need during our run. 

We like to set our running clothes out before going to bed, because not only does this help us out the next morning when we’re getting ready, but we can also make sure we have everything we need. The last thing you want to happen is realizing that you forgot something important like your shoes (*ahem* Isaac *ahem*) the morning of your race. 

Get plenty of sleep! Since we have to wake up early for the race, we go to bed earlier than normal. Trust me- running on less sleep than you need is not very fun. 

Race Day Rituals - What do to before a race! | read more at happilythehicks.com

Morning of the Race

Set your alarm early enough to give you time to wake up, eat something before you leave and give you plenty of time to get to the start line. We’re lucky enough to be staying with my aunt who lives less than a mile from the Alamo (where our race starts), so we don’t have to worry about driving there and finding a place to park. 

Fuel up! I made these blueberry zucchini muffins to eat before our race, because they are light, filling and won’t mess with my stomach during the run. You can also have something like trail mix or a banana. For more ideas, check out this post

Go on a short jog to warm up. This is SO important! I used to think running before you run was counter intuitive, but your muscles need to warm up, and it’s much safer to do it before you start your race rather than in the mob of people when the gun goes off. It will help prevent injuries, and it will even help improve your overall race time.

Use the restroom! Y’all, waiting in the lines is worth it to avoid using the restroom during the race. Trust me on this one.

Race Day Rituals - What do to before a race! | read more at happilythehicks.com

After the Race

Before you indulge in all things delicious after your race, make sure you allow your body some time to cool down, and drink lots of water! I like to walk around a little bit to keep my muscles moving, which I’ve found helps reduce muscle soreness later on. This is a great time to have some more ZipFizz, a banana or Gatorade, because your body needs the potassium, electrolytes and calories to recover. 

Snap a picture! I love taking post race pictures, because you can look back at it later and remember that moment in time where you accomplished what you had been training for for weeks, and you’re basking in the post run high. 

And now it’s time to treat yo’self. We like to find a delicious sounding restaurant where we can get lots of food to celebrate the end of the race and training. Last year we went to Cooper’s in Llano, and this year we’re going somewhere in San Antonio. 

Race Day Rituals - What do to before a race! | read more at happilythehicks.com

Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions in the comments below:
Do you have any races coming up?
What are some of your race day rituals?

Race Day Rituals - What do to before a race! | read more at happilythehicks.com

share this post

What do you think

  1. Julie M says:

    Good luck this Sunday! I’m doing the RnR half in Dallas on Sunday. I always make sure my breakfast is at least an hour before race start. I also hydrate lots the day before a run and avoid alcohol.

  2. Jessica Bradshaw says:

    How fun! Good luck on Sunday! I can’t wait to hear how it goes for both of you. :) I still wish I could run in a half, but I don’t think my leg is ready for that. These are great tips!!

  3. The hardest part for me is waking up so early to get to the race with plenty of time to spare. Also, I get so nervous that it’s hard to eat beforehand, but I power through. Love your tips!

    • Hahaha that’s honestly what I’m most worried about. I have been struggling SO much lately with waking up early to go run. It is hard to fall asleep because I’m so nervous about the race, and then I don’t sleep well. It’s a bad spiral to get into haha.

  4. Jackie says:

    Such great tips! I cannot wait for my first half since having a baby! It’s this November!

  5. Kim Reed says:

    Thank you this! I just ran my first two weeks ago. I did some of these tips and will save the others to do for my next one! Good luck!

I'm becca, and I'm so glad you're here.

I'm a sinner saved by grace who loves staying active and eating healthy. I am married to my high school sweetheart, Isaac, and I'm mama to James and an adorable puppy named Lillie.

meet becca

healthy living blogger


%d bloggers like this: