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Race Day Preparation: Here’s What To Do Before A Race

14th March 2023

14th March 2023

By Beth Shelper

It’s that time again! Race season is coming up, so it’s time to start thinking about that all-important race day prep if you haven’t already.

There are a range of things to consider pre-race, and it’s not all about the day before prep. You need to start getting serious about a long-distance race weeks and months in advance, so if you’re reading this and have a race day coming up, it might be time to get planning!  

From the what’s; what to eat, what to wear, what to listen to, to the how to’s: how to stretch, how to train and how to prepare as a whole, we weren’t kidding when we said there was a lot to consider in terms of race day preparation.

We’ve broken our race day preparation guide into three stages: race day preparation one month before a race, one week before a race and one day before a race, in an attempt to help as many people in as many stages of their race day preparation journey as possible.

How to prepare for a race

With your trusty recovery companion, The Recover Capsules in tow, it’s well and truly time to get prepped. Here’s everything you need to know about preparing for race day.

How to prepare for a race the month before

With a month to go before race day, there’s still plenty of time, so don’t panic.

How to train before a race

If you’re not happy with your current training plan, it’s time to do some research and work out what is best for you, your ability and race experience at this point in the prep.

Whether you opt for HIIT techniques such as fartlek training or want to improve your strength and opt for weight training, your race day journey is up to you. It’s also a great idea, if you can, to invest in a trained professional or personal trainer to tailor a plan to your goals.

What to eat before a race

Next up, nutrition.

Make sure that you’re following a healthy, balanced diet, and have cut out (or greatly reduced) and processed sugar, alcohol and foods that are high in fat or salt. Up your carbohydrate and protein intake, as you’re going to need all of the energy and strength you can get your hands on!

How to prepare for a race the week before

As the days countdown and get closer to race day, it’s important to stay calm and focused. This week can make or break your training, so it’s important to take it steady to avoid any potential injury that will throw you off.

On the flip side, though, make sure not to stop all of your training all together, it’s time to keep the pace up, people!

Here are our 5 top tips for preparing for a race the week before race day:

  • Give your body the nutrients it needs
  • Remember to take your rest days
  • Warm up and warm down, every single time
  • Don’t try anything new, stick to what you know
  • Switch up your distances and keep things interesting

How to prepare for a race the day before

This is the time for all the last-minute prep to come into play – and we’re not talking about training prep.

Get your race day clothes ready, make sure your devices are charged, your bag is packed, and your lucky pants are ready and waiting… if that’s your kind of thing.

Here are our 5 top tips for preparing for a race the day before a race:

  • It’s time to carb up! Opt for meals with plenty of carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta or potato based dishes.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
  • Organise your race number and kit
  • Stick to your training schedule
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of rest

Remember to stay positive, and if pre-race nerves start to hit, it’s a great idea to envision your goals. Picture yourself crossing that finishing line, hitting that personal best, and collecting your end of race medal. It all helps!

How to prepare for a race the night before

All of your training is now complete. Whether you like it or not (and we hope you do), the time has come, and there’s nothing more you can do. The hard preparations are over!

There’s only one key piece of advice when it comes to preparing the night before a race: rest. Rest and sleep. Get to bed early, run-through a relaxing routine, and definitely don’t run. Keep it chilled and relaxed.

Watch something you love with a loved one, listen to your favourite playlist, have a relaxing bubble bath… or all of the above, if you like! Treat yourself. You deserve it.


The common phrase “nothing new on race day” really rings true here. When it gets to the big day, stick to what you know and trust yourself.

You’ve put the training in, you know the drill. Now it’s just you and the finishing line.

Good luck!

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more