What to Do the Week Before a Race

Group Of Runners in Race

It's perfectly normal to experience a wide range of emotions the week before a race of any distance, whether it's 3.1 miles or 26.2. Excitement, anxiety, even dread can sweep over you in those final days.

Harboring all that nervous energy simply means you care about having a good day, whether your race goal is just to finish or to run a faster time. The best way to counter those jitters is to have a plan for each day that will prepare your body—and ease your mind. For more on how to prep on the big day, read How to Run Your Best Race Ever.

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Walk or cross-train for 30 to 60 minutes. Run or drive the course, or review a map of it online. Familiarizing yourself with the hills, turns, and final stretch helps you plan your strategy.


Run easy for 30 minutes. Do two to three one-minute accelerations to wake up your legs. Look through your running log to reaffirm your progress.

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Spend 30 minutes cross-training to channel nervous energy. Organize logistics: Know how to get to the event, when to arrive, and where to park.


Run for 30 minutes and visualize running strong to the finish. Surf YouTube for past Olympic races. Read motivational runners' stories. Watching and reading about great athletes will further inspire you.

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Walk for 30 minutes. Mentally rehearse your race-day plan: Visualize lining up, starting slowly, and using your run/walk strategy from the beginning.


Go for a 20-minute walk, then chill out. Get organized: Set your alarm; lay out your running gear, fluid, and snacks; pin the bib number; lace the timing chip; and prep your breakfast. If you're not sure how much fuel you need the night before, read the Truth About Carbo-Loading.

Race Day

Warm up by walking to the starting line and spend the first mile of the race easing into your pace. Remember to look around and soak up the good vibes, and avoid these Top Race Day Mistakes!

More: 5 Easy Ways to Run Better on Race Day

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