Wednesday Wisdom: How to Run A Race?

So I’ve officially been running shorter races for over a year, and lately I’ve noticed that I have certain “rituals” and strange things that I always do before, during, and after my races. I think that runners (and all athletes in general) are pretty serious about not messing up their routines, so I’m wondering if anyone else does this weird race stuff too?

Before a Race:

-I always wear mascara to a race, and no other makeup. I don’t think I can leave my house without mascara on, and I’m not even a hardcore makeup kind of girl!

-I always eat cinnamon oatmeal 2 hours before the start, and drink a glass of water. No other flavor will do.

-I try to get to every race an hour early, even if it’s cold. Then after packet pickup I sit in my warm car and do mindless Facebook and twitter browsing to calm my mind.

-The last thing I do before running is take off my wedding rings. I hate how they feel during a workout!

During a Race:

-I make myself space out if the running gets really tough. If I feel like giving up, I’ll just force myself to think about something totally non-running related. It works!

-At the end of the race (in the last mile or so) I look in front of me and see who I can pass.  Sometimes I can’t catch up to them, but if I do it makes me feel good for being able to push hard at the end!

-I smile at race photographers when I run by.  No matter how you feel at that moment, smiling instantly makes you feel better!

After a Race:

-I usually walk far away from the crowds so I can calm down and stop sweating.  Then after finding Andrew, I’ll recap EVERYTHING that happened during the race, every little detail.  He really must love me!

-About 5 minutes after the race ended, I’ll always look down at my Garmin and realize I never turned it off.  Seriously, every time.

-Right after finishing I’ll eat a banana and a bagel, and drink 1 bottle of water.  But on the way home I’ll always eat either a breakfast sandwich from Wawa, or pizza.  Best food ever.

Unfortunately, there’s one other thing that I always seem to do after a race, no matter how good I did:  I evaluate every little detail of the race and pick out moments where I could have gone faster or done something different.  Why do we all do this?  If you get a PR, or feel awesome after a race, we should focus on that and not think about the bad stuff.  I found this article from Runner’s World that says that after finishing a race, we need to stay in the moment.  There’s plenty of time to think about your race later, so when you cross that finish line don’t worry about any of that stuff and just feel awesome for getting to the finish!  Such good advice!

So how about you:  do you do any of the above stuff when you run a race?  List the craziest stuff that you do before/during/after a race!

15 thoughts on “Wednesday Wisdom: How to Run A Race?

    1. I was so mad this weekend, I literally had no idea what my time was for a few hours because I didn’t turn off my watch and there were so many runners who started before me that I knew the clock time was way off! I have to start getting better at this!

  1. I eat the same flavor Luna bar before a race. I get very pissy if I can’t find the exact right flavor. And I’m trying really hard to remember my Garmin. I’m getting better about it. Annnnd, I make it my mission to pass as many people as humanly possible in the last like quarter mile stretch to the finish line no matter how gassed I am. I’m way too competitive

    1. Haha I love it! I’m usually too tired or feel too awful to pass too many people, but it’s my new goal. Same with actually shutting off my watch!

  2. I never remember to turn off my Garmin either. So frustrating. I too pick off runners the last half mile or so. As the first person mentioned, I have to be at a race at least an hour in advance, or I panic and it throws off my entire morning sequence.

    1. These Garmins need to come with an automatic finish line shutoff or something! It seems like no one remembers to turn them off! And it’s also good to know that I’m not the only one trying to pass runners at the end. Sometimes I feel bad, but if it looks like they’re in my age group I’m going for it!

  3. Seriously, why I have never thought of forcing myself to think of something else when it gets hard mid-race? All I concentrate on is how much it hurts and I tell myself I won’t be able to meet my goal – but now I’m gonna try that during my next race!
    I love eating bananas after I race too! It irritates me when races don’t offer them as a post-race food – they are like a staple of running!
    My pre-race ritual is to re-tie my shoes – it eases worries during the race of the laces becoming untied 🙂

    1. Honestly, I always have that same thought too so you’re not alone. I try to think about the most boring and mindless things ever – the Kardashians (I watch them when I run on the treadmill too!), what clothes I’ll wear to go out that night, a book I’m reading, etc. Or food! I just think about the pizza I’ll be eating in a half hour and that helps get me through the tough miles. Let me know if it works for you!

      1. I like the tv show or book idea! I think if I concentrated my thoughts on food after the race I’d be too anxious for the race to be over, haha.
        Thanks for the tips, I’ll let you know how it works out at my next race!

    1. Mine does that too!!! He’ll be like “Oh the fastest girl was slow this time, she finished in 19 minutes” and I have to try not to punch him in the face. One thing I totally forgot to put on here was the game me and my husband play before the race – we try to pick out the winners of the race just by looking at the crowd. It’s so bitchy since it’s all based on appearance, but we are usually right! Hint: the winners will be super skinny but muscular, and will be wearing tiny shorts and a tank top even if it’s cold. They also don’t smile at all. You should try it!

    1. Haha no, it’s awesome you don’t have to do all the crazy stuff that I do! Especially the Garmin thing – it drives me crazy!

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