How to Pamper Yourself Like a QUEEN for Race Day

A woman in a mud mask
I love racing. ❤️❤️ Who doesn’t? But you have to admit that if you want the euphoria of “I gave it my all” and a PR/SR/BQ/PB&J/whatever-you-use-to-measure-your-progress, you are going to have to put yourself through some discomfort first. Mile 11 of a half marathon is HARD. Running a 5K as fast as you can HURTS.

Not only that, all the training and buildup you put into the race can be brutal, but by the time your race rolls around, all the hardest work is done! Once the hay is in the barn, you deserve to treat yourself. I think you should treat yourself to a little at-home spa day the day before your race.

“SERIOUSLY? One MORE thing I have to do before race day!?”

Shush now, don’t worry, girlfriend! Just sit back and relax and breathe in the Lavender. I’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide to my recommended pre-race day pampering routine.

Step 1: If you’re so inclined, go out for your shakeout jog so you can get that out of the way before taking your one way magic carpet ride to peace and serenity. Wear something you like! Then do whatever stretches and stuff you like to. Remember, the goal is to make yourself feel good, so do what feels good!

Step 2: Shower. I mean, duh. But like, make it a good shower! Be sure to exfoliate, do whatever hair removal you may want to do to feel most confident, and if you have dry hair, make sure to condition the s**t out of it. Ooh! Or try a hair mask (they have one at Trader Joe’s that I am OBSESSED with as it is both cost effective and amazing, and I actually use this stuff every day as conditioner, so anyway please do yourself a favor and buy it, or even buy out your local TJ’s entire stock of the stuff, unless of course you shop at the Minneapolis or St. Paul TJ’s in which case please save some for meeee ok bye).

Step 3: Post shower: Open pores, clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose. I’m a wannabe Jersey Shore cast member so I like to do a nice fake tan after my pre-race shower (in this case though, you have to unfortunately close up your pores by blasting yourself with cold water at the end of the shower so that the tan won’t darken your pores). I use Bondi Sands one hour tan because I don’t have eight hours to spend sitting around in my spray tan. If you have no desire to falsify your skin tone, go ahead and smack on some lotion and a face mask. Do not skip the face mask. It feels like a silly thing to do, but it is both fun and requires you to lounge for many minutes, which you can use to visualize yourself finishing your race with a smile on your face and a shiny new goal-achievement. I always like fruity scents before a race, so that I can smell myself and imagine a fruity beverage waiting for me at the finish line.🍹 Imagine, finishing a race and being handed a glass of fresh lemonade or fruit punch! Why is this not a thing???

Step 4: Nails: this is a classic. Do your nails! Even your ugly runner toenails, no matter how gnarled and disgusting they are, as long as you don’t hurt yourself. Remember, it doesn’t actually matter how you look! The point of this entire guide is to make you feel relaxed and confident come race day. That said, go for a look that makes you feel like the strong, bada** runner you are. Could be bright red long fake nails, could be cool nail art effects, maybe a classic French manicure … or it could be a simple trim and some clear polish. I like to buy myself a new nail polish as a special treat when I get a PR, and then I have something new to use for my next race!

Step 5: Relaaaaaaax, bae. If you spray tan, of course rinse that off according to package directions/whenever you want to. Then pile on some lotion and catch up with the rest of us for some brain calming. You can start by foam rolling a little if that’s what makes you happy, or massage some lotion into your hands slowly. Massage your forehead, scalp, and cheeks, put on some mood lighting, and chill out for a few minutes with some calming music on. After this you should be able to float off to sleep like an angel.

By the end, you should be clean, moisturized, refreshed, detoxed, enlightened, smelling like a glass of fruit punch, and risen from the dead. What more could you possibly need?? Besides carbs, of course!

I'm a 22 year old in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I work in insurance and enjoy cooking, reading, and calligraphy as well as running. My running goal right now is to adjust from running middle distance in college to longer distances as a graduate! I write about racing, inclusivity and mental health as they relate to running, and cookies.

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    1. Yes!! TJ’s has some great beauty products… recently they added a coconut hair serum (to rub in your hair after showering), which is great for runners because we wash our hair way too often or at least I do, so I am constantly moisturizing. Also they have a new cucumber avocado body lotion for summer and I promise it smells even better than it sounds.