Fast Guy Problems: Good Habits Die Hard


I’m sure everyone has their own tics and behaviors around racing, and they all work for different reasons. I toe the line dozens of times a year, for the past 19 years, and try to do the same things in preparation in the morning of and day prior to pinning on the bib. Failing to undertake any of these will not necessarily evoke a feeling of dread, but as someone who likes routine, I prefer to stick to my habits.

1. Get buzzed

I like to race with freshly cut hair. Maybe that shorn skull improves my aerodynamics, or the weight reduction is just that much less weight for my legs to carry. Whatever the reason, I generally cut my hair the night before. In deference to the chills of winter, I don’t cut it quite so short during the grey months.

2. Feeding my inner Italian

I am a huge fan of spaghetti, in huge portions. I make it practically every night before a race and literally eat out of a mixing bowl. Rumors have it I can consume up to a tenth of my body weight in pasta, sauce and beef. A new twist on this I have picked up as I delve into the marathon world is second dinner, to be eaten about 2 and a half hours after the common dinner.

3. The home stretch

Generally something I have done before a longer race, 15K or more, I relax the night before by doing an extended stretch routine. Nothing special, just focusing on my hamstrings and calves as they tend to tighten up in the longer races.

4. Visualization

The mental aspect is a key part of racing. I may do a mental run through of the course in my head, if I know it, or just employ generic memories of times I have run strong in the past. I look for reasons why I feel good and why the event should go well and use that to counter the usual pre-race jitters.

I’m sure there are other minor tics I do that have become so ingrained that I don’t make note of them. These four get me in the right mood and feeling ready to achieve my potential come race day. Part of it is a placebo to counter nerves and the other is to remove variables from the elements that may affect a race. Do you have any pre race routines that you must do?

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