What Does Your Pre-Race Dance Look Like?

Just about every run­ner has one, but some are a lot sil­li­er than oth­ers. No, we’re not talk­ing about chaffing hot spots, we’re talk­ing about pre-race rit­u­als. Take some time observ­ing the pre-race rit­u­als and you’ll find that these folks are a bit of a super­sti­tious group. It’s also hard to keep a straight face around some of them.

Pro­fes­sion­al ultra­ma­rathon­er Scott Jurek came right out last year on his book tour and admit­ted to one of his most obvi­ous pre-race rit­u­als, which peo­ple seemed to real­ly get a kick out of – and some­times even joined in on. At the start­ing line just min­utes before his race begins, Jurek does a few high hops in place and then lets out what has been described as a “war cry.”  Jurek was more than hap­py to demon­strate his yelp for crowds while on his book tour last year, and often times he would goad the crowd into join­ing him for a sec­ond cry, see­ing how loud they could real­ly get.  Although it’s sil­ly, it’s also not hard to see how that may help him at the begin­ning of the race. If the ‘war cry’ itself doesn’t intim­i­date com­peti­tors, they might at least con­clude that he’s insane and decide to give him his space through­out the race. Let’s take a look at some of the more com­mon (and uncom­mon) pre-race rituals.

Food
Many peo­ple opt to eat the same thing for break­fast before a race. If it worked once and you have a great race, why not stick to it for every race, right? For many, a race day break­fast con­sists of a mix­ture of carbs, pro­tein, and water. Some throw in a small cup of black cof­fee for a lit­tle added caf­feine boost.  Oth­er run­ners, how­ev­er, eat like they are expe­ri­enc­ing preg­nan­cy crav­ings at their worst, down­ing any­thing from cold piz­za, can­dy bars, or pick­les for breakfast.

Cloth­ing
Some run­ners who have a good race wear­ing a spe­cif­ic out­fit decide to stick with that out­fit for all races after­ward (using the same log­ic as the food). Although, of course, one person’s lucky race out­fit may be a sim­ple pair of shorts and a tank top, while another’s involves a flu­o­res­cent sports bra, a som­brero, a tutu, and knee high bas­ket­ball socks. It seems that pret­ty much every­thing has been tried at least once by a run­ner in a race some­where. And let’s not for­get that for some indi­vid­u­als, no out­fit at all is the only way to go. The pop­u­lar­i­ty of nude races is unde­ni­ably rising.

Bath­room Rituals
Then there’s the pot­ty. Bath­room habits are always a pop­u­lar top­ic amongst run­ners, whether they’re talk­ing pre-race rit­u­als or not. How­ev­er, if you lis­ten to most run­ners’ bath­room talk, they always seem to have a spe­cif­ic pot­ty plan for before the race. And with those some­times half-hour long port-a-pot­ty lines, who can blame them? Some peo­ple sim­ply plan to come ear­ly and wait in the line; some stop at the last gas sta­tion or mini mart before the race; and oth­ers will­ing­ly trek a half mile into the woods and take care of busi­ness old school style.

It’s arguable to say that all run­ners have some sort of pre-race rit­u­al, whether it’s as sim­ple as when you wake up, as dis­crete as say­ing a silent prayer, or as kooky as an ear pierc­ing bat­tle cry. We’d love to hear what some of our read­ers’ rit­u­als are; the odd­er the bet­ter – don’t be shy!