You’ve followed your training schedule to a tee, figured out the nutrition and now the race is hours away. Try not to worry if the pre-race jitters keep you tossing and turning all night. This is common especially if it’s your first race. The sleep you get two nights before the race is what matters. Don’t worry, one night of restless sleep will not ruin your race. So here are 10 tried and true strategies for your night before your big race.
Figure out your marathon checklist. Lay out what your going to wear. Everything like shoes,socks race bib and don’t forget the safety pins. I actually pin my race bib on my shirt the night before so I have one less thing to worry about. I set out my gels, chap stick, sunscreen,lube(anti- chafe balm) and sunglasses. Races allow you to check gear so bring warm clothes for the start and something to change into post race.
Make sure your electronics are fully charged. If you normally eat something before your long runs or have coffee then try to prepare it beforehand. And it’s always a good idea to arrive early. You never know about traffic, trouble getting to start line or the dreaded long lines for the bathroom. If you don’t want to check gear at the start because after all you do have to retrieve it, there are options. I always put on an over sized sweatshirt that I don’t mind parting with. Then as the race starts you can shed your unwanted layers in bins along the side or some just toss them on the ground. Volunteers pick up these items and they are donated to charity.
Ramp Up Your Playlist
If you’ve been listening to the same music all during your training, then try adding some new stuff. It will give you something to look forward to the next day. And it might even give you a little boost when you will is being tested during the race.
Indulge A Little
“ I like to shave my legs and put on some fancy lotion, it’s the least I can do for them before they take me through a marathon.” says Kiera Carter for New York. If your into to bubble baths try a soothing one with lavender or whatever scent you like. Make sure the water isn’t too hot and you don’t stay in too long and risk dehydration. Maybe a manicure or facial is more your speed. Treating yourself to some pampering can help you relax.
Maybe Have A Beer
If you’ve always had a cold beer or glass of wine the night before your longs runs, then the night before the race should be no different.It will help you get in the mindset because you’ve been doing this during your training. Now if have not been doing this then that’s a different story. Don’t start the night before the race because all your race buddies are partaking.That could negatively affect your race.
Get Inspired or Just Laugh Out Loud
Watch a favorite movie or a sitcom you love. Or find something that really inspires you. This will help to distract you and also provide some relaxation. It might even become a ritual says NJ marathoner Dori Gray. She says the episode “Lucky Penny” of How I Met Your Mother where Barney runs the New York marathon was on the night before her first marathon. It’s now part of her race routine.
Give Your Body Some Love
Some marathoners do ice baths the night before and morning of a race, saying it’s helps them feel rejuvenated. Robyn Mayer, an ultra marathoner from Denver uses a different angle. “ I lay with my legs up the wall for 10 to 15 minutes, with my eyes closed, in a quiet room,” she says. Then she visualizes herself successfully completing each mile while focusing on deep breathing. Doing this before bed shows her how to get rid of nervous energy and get in the champion mindset. Some of these tactics could work for you.
Say No To Social Media
We know your friends and family want to wish you well but it can be a big distraction. Try turning off your phone by say 8 pm or so. Read a book til you fall asleep but make sure it’s not an engrossing page turner that will keep you up. Disconnecting is going to help you focus for your big day. Then the next morning when you turn your phone on you will be able to read all the well wishes and get even more pumped for the race.
Take It Easy On Yourself
If this is your first race then somebody probably told you not to have a specific finish time in mind. You may ask why, I trained at a certain pace and everyone says you run faster in a race because of the excitement. That could be the very reason why you don’t run the time you want. It’s difficult to pace yourself in the beginning because the energy of the crowd is high.
See The Finish Line
Depending on where you race is at, you might of been training on the course. Visualize yourself running in your race gear with the weather conditions predicted for the race. Now capture the details of the course like sounds and smells and picture yourself running strong, relaxed and happy. If the course is new then try to remember a long run where you felt great or a previous race where crushed your PR.
Above All: Don’t Try Anything New
The old adage is so true, NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY! You might be tempted to try a sleep aid the night before because you’re afraid you won’t be able to sleep. But if you’ve never tried this in training don’t start now, you could be groggy in the morning. If you always had coffee the morning of your long runs then do that for the race. Same holds true with dinner the night before. You shouldn't be wondering what to eat before a race because just do what you did in training. Whether you drink a beer or not do the same thing you did the night before your long runs. Keep do what you’ve been doing and you’ll be in the right mindset to have a great race.