5 Pre-Race Superstitions That Work (We Swear!)

fri5When I was in 4th grade, I spent an unhealthy amount of time feeling jealous of the girl who had a lucky rabbit’s foot stashed in her desk. It was dyed bright blue and I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever. I got to hold it once, just before a math test, and I was utterly convinced that it helped me do better. Oh, how I wanted a furry good-luck charm of my own!

My tastes have changed over the years, my yearning for keychain-sized animal appendages is completely gone, but my superstitious streak still pops up from time to time. A lot of us runners like to keep certain traditions before workouts or races. Call them crutches, nerve-busters, or “mental security blankets” if you want, we don’t care. Our running good luck charms may range from sensible to silly, but we’re not giving them up any time soon. Unless, of course, they stop working…(gasp!)

Today’s Friday 5 is brought to you by 5 Salty ladies who swear by their own pre-race superstitions. See if you can guess the Salty blogger who belongs to each superstition! 

1. Numerology. My big superstition relates to my bib number.  I obviously don’t have any control over it, but I do obsess about it pre-race.  Specifically, I always try to determine if it is a good number or bad number.  It’s not totally rational, but if, for example, it is a prime number, I’ll be super geeked out about it.  If it contains my favorite number or adds up to a favorite number, it’s a good thing.   I also ran back to back races one weekend and ended up with the same number for both races – what kind of awesome, good-race-juju is that?!

2. Perfect hair. I have to match my ponytail holder to my race outfit.  If I can’t find one to match (horror!), I will settle for red because somebody once told me there was a study that showed runners run faster when they wear red.

3. The perfect meal and bad t.v. The night before an ultra, I have to eat a Trader Joe’s super spinach salad with half of the dressing, organic blue chips and guacamole. And then before bed I MUST watch at least one episode of “Say Yes to the Dress.”

4. Imbedding songs in the brain. During my training for my goal races, I tend to come up with “theme” or inspirational songs that really clicks with my training, state of mind, and state of life.  I narrow it down to about 10 songs and create a playlist.  One year, “the song” was Bon Jovi’s Bad Medicine; another year, it was a house remix of Boys of Summer. Once the playlist is established, I listen to it constantly – treadmill, driving, running, etc.  Then, a week before the race, I am no longer allowed to listen to it.  As a matter of fact, I try not to listen to music at all.  Then, the day before the race, I break the playlist back out after the “deprivation” period.  WHY?!?!  I go through this entire ritual because, if I’m going to have a song stuck in my head for the race, I want it to be a song that works.  So far, it’s worked every time.

Teal leopard print and lace: a serious pre-race No-No for Chamomile!
Teal leopard print and lace: a serious pre-race No-No for Chamomile!

5. Um, solid-colored underwear? The day before and the day of a race, I will only wear solid-colored underwear. I refuse to wear anything with a pattern on it. It has to be one solid color. No contrasting trim, no crazy prints, nothing. One color only.

Do you know which of these 5 bloggers is the underwear lady? The songstress? The bad t.v. lover? The hair accessory obsessor? The numerologist?  Choices are: Clove, Coriander, Chamomile, Mint or Salty.

Got a tried-and-true running superstition? Don’t be shy — you’re in good company! Tell us what works for you.

I'm a nomadic runner who loves moving from city to city with my husband and Great Dane. I write about training with a Type-B personality, battling bad running habits, and becoming comfortable with sub-3 marathon racing despite my race-phobia. After a soul-searching year away from running, I'm thrilled and terrified (thrillified?) to be making a major comeback in 2018!

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  1. I want to know who’s underwear that is as the caption doesn’t have an “image via” phrase at the end. Come on ladies, fess up! Lol