How to Prepare for a Night Race

There is something magical about racing at night. It requires a special kind of focus that draws your attention to what matters most—the very next step. It also requires a little more planning, as most of us are used to training and racing for morning events. The secret is to think of it as a shift in time rather than a change in rituals. Although you're racing later, you can stick to your go-to pre-race preparation with a few minor changes. Here are a few strategies for running a night race.

Follow the #1 Golden Rule of Racing

No matter what time of day you're racing, you should always abide by racing rule number one: go with what you know and avoid trying anything new. This means sticking with familiar foods your system is used to digesting, and avoiding any new tapering diets. The time to make dietary changes is during the training season— during race weekend, keep all things familiar. If you're traveling to a destination race, save the culinary excursions for post-race when you can savor every morsel without concern.

More: Race Weekend Preparation for Runners

Shift Your Meals 

Eat your pre-race dinner at a normal time.

Consume your pre-race dinner the night before just as you would for a morning race. This meal typically consists of complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat to keep you satisfied. My go-to pre-race meal consists of brown rice, veggies and chicken or fatty fish like salmon. Others prefer a more traditional fare of pasta. Go with what is digested well, and eat normal portions. Although you have more time to digest your pre-race dinner, overindulging can cause stomach upset, and play havoc with you during the race. 

More: 5 Common Pre-Race Nutrition Blunders

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About the Author

Jenny Hadfield

Coach Jenny Hadfield is an Active Expert, co-author of the best-selling Marathoning for Mortals, and the Running for Mortals series. As a columnist for Women's Running Magazine and RunnersWorld.com, Jenny has trained thousands of runners and walkers like you with her training plans and guidance. Known for her "Ask Coach Jenny" brand, she empowers individuals of all experience levels to improve their running performance and train more effectively for their next event by answering their questions. You can follow her on Twitter and at the Ask Coach Jenny Facebook page

Coach Jenny Hadfield is an Active Expert, co-author of the best-selling Marathoning for Mortals, and the Running for Mortals series. As a columnist for Women's Running Magazine and RunnersWorld.com, Jenny has trained thousands of runners and walkers like you with her training plans and guidance. Known for her "Ask Coach Jenny" brand, she empowers individuals of all experience levels to improve their running performance and train more effectively for their next event by answering their questions. You can follow her on Twitter and at the Ask Coach Jenny Facebook page

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