Eight Things to Do (and not do) the Day Before a Big Race


It’s final­ly here. You’ve been train­ing for months, clock­ing in count­less miles on your run­ning shoes, and fuel­ing your­self with all the right stuff. And now, it’s all with­in close reach: the big race is tomor­row!

What you do on the day before your race can impact your game-day per­for­mance, so you’ll want to be mind­ful of what you’re doing—and what you’re not doing. Here are 8 tips for the eve of your race.

Do: Get a Good Sleep the Night Before the Night Before
Between the-night-before jit­ters and the super ear­ly wake-up call, you prob­a­bly won’t get a great sleep the night before the race. That’s okay—as long as you get a great sleep the night before the night before. Turn down plans, turn off the TV, and get to bed nice and ear­ly two nights before your race.

Don’t: Wear Your Legs Out
With all the run­ning you’ve been doing, it can be tough to sit still—but that’s exact­ly what you want to do the day before your race. For most peo­ple, a lit­tle walk­ing is all you need to do on the eve of your race. If you feel as though you absolute­ly must run, keep it real­ly short and real­ly easy—save your ener­gy for tomorrow.

Do: Have a Pow­er LunchEat
What you eat for lunch the day before you race def­i­nite­ly mat­ters. Make this your last ‘big’ meal before your race and opt for a lighter dinner.

Pack in ener­gy-deliv­er­ing carbs, but choose them mind­ful­ly. Remem­ber, there are a lot of healthy veg­gies packed with carbs, and that cream-based pas­ta sauce is going to weigh heavy on your stom­ach tomorrow.

Don’t: Eat Some­thing New
The day before the race is not the time to get exper­i­men­tal with your diet. Stick to foods that you’ve eat­en through­out your train­ing to keep your diges­tive sys­tem happy.

Do: Review Your Strategy
Pull up the course map and go over your goals for the race. Being men­tal­ly pre­pared will help you avoid the start line freak out. This is also a great time to bust out your run­ning inspi­ra­tion, whether that be a favorite quote, a moti­vat­ing pho­to, or a song that gets you moving.

Don’t: Leave Things to the Last MinuteBag
You have enough to wor­ry about the morn­ing of the race, and you don’t want to add any­thing to that list, so get the kinks sort­ed out ahead of time. If you can, pick up your race bib the day before the race. Pull out your race-day out­fit and make sure you’re not miss­ing a sock. Pack your bag with all your must-haves. Con­firm your trans­porta­tion details. The more you do now, the less you’ll have to stress about later.

Do: Sur­round Your­self With Positivity
Dis­tract your­self with fun (non-active) plans the day before the race, like catch­ing up with an old friend, get­ting lost in a book, or binge-watch­ing Break­ing Bad. This is espe­cial­ly impor­tant for those of us who tend to get worked up before the big race. You’ve done all the work, so you might as well have some fun and keep your mind off the race!

Don’t: Go For Beers
Don’t have too much fun, though. Skip alco­hol entire­ly the day before your race. It won’t do you any favors, plus it’ll make the post-race drink taste that much better.