Should I Run the Day Before a Race?

Man running in New York
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"I'm running a half-marathon this Sunday. I've heard different things about what I should be doing the day before the race. Should I run the day before the race or just take it easy and rest?"

There are lots of opinions out there about whether or not you should run the day before a race, regardless of whether you're running a shorter race like a 5K or a long-distance event such as a marathon. On the one hand, it's good to rest your running muscles in preparation for a race, especially if it's a long one, such as a marathon.

Most runners who rest the day before a race say that they feel fresh and ready when they get to the starting line. But other runners will swear by running very easy for 20 minutes the day before a race, saying that it helps them loosen up and shake off the nervous feelings. Some runners will do some light stretching or foam rolling after their short jog to help them stretch out and relax.

So, you really need to see what works best for you. If you're the type of person who gets race anxiety, it might be beneficial for you to do a very slow, 20-minute jog the day before. But if you think you perform better on rest and you don't need a short shake-out run, then just relax during those 24 hours leading up to the race. Whichever you choose, it's not going to have an impact on your race performance.

Take It Easy

Whatever you do, just make sure that you don't do a significant, hard workout, like a long run, speed workout, or strength training the day before the race.

Some people might assume that running several miles on the race course or doing a strengthening workout the day before will give them a mental or physical edge on race day. But, in reality, you'll just be left feeling tired or sore, and questioning whether you're ready for the race. Running the hills on the course just to "test them out" and be mentally prepared for them could actually backfire as a strategy.

Just try to take it easy and keep reminding yourself that you're well-trained and ready for your race.

Also see:

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