It’s a hotly contested debate, for sure.
As runners, we tend to be a bit quirky. For one, not everyone truly enjoys running an incalculable number of miles, or competing in races for the glory of dropping even a split second off your time. On top of that, pre-race rituals or superstitions are another one of the many things that make us the unique bunch that we are.
Related: Why Should Make Pre-Long Run Rituals
After asking my teammates and other running friends if they had any habits or superstitions before a race, it was interesting to see how strangely similar we all are. Although it may seem a bit unusual to the non-runner, it seems to work for us. Maybe you share some of the same ones!
Writing on your hand.
Before every race I write HH on my hand. It stands for head and heart. My coach always told us that if you have your head and heart in something you can achieve anything you want, not only in the sport of running, but in life. It reminds me before and during races to do just that. It also gives me that extra inspiration that’s sometimes needed in tough races. —Maureen Crimmins, age 22
Wearing a lucky sports bra/ socks.
It’s uniform to me at this point and helps me feel more in the zone. I had my best race in it so I’ve been wearing it for the past 5 years.—Jackie Willesy, age 21
If I have a good race in a certain pair of socks I’ll wash them and wear them for the next race. —Shannon Lavin, age 20
I always wear the same red sports bra, with my schools cross-country logo on it. I’m convinced if I don’t, I’ll have a bad race. —Molly Leidig, age 23
I once wore the same sports bra for every race because I did really well while I was wearing it. I was always scared I would break the luck if I didn’t wear it. Then I had an extremely bad race wearing the bra and I deemed it “the unlucky bra” and barely ever wear it now. Maybe I’m a bit superstitious. —Hayley Roberts, age 21
I always make sure I start warm-up exactly an hour before my race. After it, I’ve fallen into a habit of doing the same drills. They make me feel calm and the familiarity helps. I go through “circle drills” and standing drills. Then I do A, B, and C skips. Once I’m on the line, I stand with my arms on my hips. It makes the other racers move away from me and gives me space. Then, I like to smile when I’m on the line. It just helps my relaxation and reminds me how happy I am to be racing and there’s no place I’d rather be. —Ashley Cambisaca, age 20
Before a race, I always look at my reflection in the mirror and tell myself I could and would do well and remind myself that I wanted to be here. It’s empowering to look in the mirror and be able to find good qualities that you like in yourself. —Claire Csenge, age 21
Eating the same meal.
I have a bagel for breakfast before every race because it fills me up enough without making me feel too heavy. I haven’t changed my pre race meal in years. Mostly because I’m scared I’ll be cursed with a bad race if I try anything else. —Kelly Cleary, age 20
I have oatmeal with peanut butter before racing because it gives me enough fuel and energy. I think I feel more comfortable and confident when I have a pre race routine. —Molly Leidig, age 23
I always take a shower and I like to do my hair and makeup because I like to feel put together, clean, and fresh. It’s kind of silly because, why would I do that just to sweat? But for some reason, it just makes me feel better. —Katie Kern, age 20