Before the Race Rituals and Traditions

Good Monday Morning!


I hope all my Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon running friends had a good nights rest last night – everyone did an amazing job yesterday! Lots of PB’s, a few Boston Qualifiers and lots of goals met! Good job!! I think I might jump on the #STWM bandwagon and run the half or something next year. But we will see. The race still had spots last week, so it isn’t like Ottawa which is a race that sells out months in advance.

I was thinking the other day of some pre-race traditions we all have to do right before a race. I’m not talking about the very common bathroom ritual – but more like individual quirks that we have. There are probably lots of rituals that runners do. In an interview with Canadian Running Magazine, Rob Watson stated that he must shave his legs right before a race. Interesting!

My race rituals are more on the boring side. Although the bathroom stop is a common and necessary one – I tend to want to go one last time, right before a race. Smaller races with only a few washrooms available kind of make it hard – but at the larger races, I have no issues with lines. When I ran the Ottawa Race Weekend 5K, I managed to get ready in 2 minutes and head to the start with some friends (I was supposed to run the 10K and switched last minute). I quickly scurried to the portapotties, used the facilitates, and jogged back to my friends. We started running less than 5 minutes later.

Another ritual that I have is tying my shoes about 5 times, making sure they are absolutely perfect. I totally cannot handle my running shoes not fitting perfectly (what you cannot see is that I am rolling my eyes right as I type). But, it is something that I do. Again, at Ottawa Race Weekend, a friend made a comment about how many times I bent down to re-tie.


I do not wear any lucky socks, jewellery or special clothes. I do wear my MEC shorts almost every single race, but that is because they have proven to be nice racing shorts, not for any other reason. I typically run with just my wedding band on, and I almost always sport a headband. I may (ok, I do), colour coordinate my outfits. But who doesn’t?


The one ritual I tend to have at the beginning of a race, is the need to absolutely focus at the the one-minute-to-go mark. I usually drop my sunglasses down at this point, stare straight ahead and buckle down for a race. I say a few things in my head. Although it changes race by race, I tend to focus on words like PB, Focus, Fearless, Let’s Go – that kind of thing. I then switch on the Garmin, and turn on the tunes. My start up song, that never changes, is a song from the film, Slumdog Millionaire. It is the song at the beginning of the movie when the kids are running away. It makes me go speedy!

I will no doubt be doing a few of these rituals this weekend when I run my last 5K of the season. Since I’ve had some bad luck in my last two races – it is time to go all out and rock one last 5K. I guess you could add ‘read the route map again’ to my rituals, but luckily Rattle me Bones does NOT have five thousand turns to memorize.


What are some of your race day rituals?

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1 Comment

  1. Elise @

    I usually tie my shoe laces a bunch of times too, they bug me if they aren’t tight. It would just ruin my whole focus lol


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