Race Ready: An Olymic Runner Shares Her Top Pre-Race Tips

Deena Kastor explains what runners should and shouldn't do just before a race


Whether for a marathon or a 5K, as a runner you spend months and months preparing for a race.

You follow every aspect of your training plan, from nutrition and recovery to the actual workouts, down to a T. And as race day approaches you start to feel more and more confident that you're ready to perform better than ever.

Yet, what many runners sometimes don't realize is that the final hours leading up to that race are just as critical as the many weeks you spent preparing for the event.

What should you be focusing on as you get ready to head to the start line? What are some things you absolutely should not do?

We asked Olympic medalist and marathon and half marathon record holder Deena Kastor to share some advice about what runners should and shouldn't do just before a race.

She first pointed out that skipping breakfast is a huge flub that can seriously affect your performance in a negative way.

"In the morning, our bodies just came off of a 10 to 12 hour fast, so hydrate well and fuel up on good foods," she said.

Next she pointed out a mistake that you may have been warned of before, but that's always worth repeating: never wear new apparel that you haven't tried before.

"Race expos are great places to buy the latest and most fashionable pieces, but save them for some training runs and your next race," said Kastor.

She says that stocking up on some new gear to try after you cross the finish line is actually a great way to help you get psyched for a new race sometime in the future.

Kastor's final piece of race day advice: turn off your music and tune into the crowd.

 "Some people like putting in their headphones, but you are missing out on the energy provided by the runners and spectators around you," she said. "Unplug and tune into the experience."

In order to mentally prepare for your race, Kastor suggests putting pen to paper the night before so you can spend some time reflecting on your goals.

"Runners should write down a few reasons they should be successful in the race," she said. "The list could consist of a great workout to reflect on, a mantra or a purpose that drives you."

And if you're wondering what Kastor's pre-race routine consists of, she says it's all about relaxation.

"I like to be low key the evening of a race. Sometimes my husband and I will get take out and eat in our hotel room while watching a movie," she said. "I also look at my training log before going to bed so I fall asleep with confidence in reaching my race goal."


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