Melissa Romero from the Washingtonian recently posed this question to me. It took all of 5 minutes for me to respond to her with my admition that I do *race hair* before a big race. The admission ended with me laughing to myself over how silly it seemed that I do this before races. Silly or not I know I’ll keep doing it before every marathon!

Do you have anything you HAVE to do before a race or a certain run?

Do Athlete’s Superstitions Really Help?


  1. I don’t have a particular superstition, but I am very careful not to select an outfit in which I’ve previously had a bad run or race. I think superstitions likely help athletes in competition. They get you in the mindset to focus and do your best.

  2. I think as athletes we try to control as much of the situation as possible and that’s where the pre-event superstitions come into play. We can’t control the weather, other competitors, or race logistics, so we seek to control everything else we can in order to make the athletic event more consistent. It’s really just a process to eliminate as many variables as you can.

  3. I always listen to the same song before I start my races as good luck. I also switch to fun, brightly colored hair elastics to do my hair instead of the black ones I generally use for my everyday training. And if it’s cold enough for tights, I have a pair of red running undies that I always bust out for races (red is my fast color).

  4. So here’s my question… what’s “race hair?”

  5. I paint my fingernails black to remind me that I have “grit” (a compliment my Dad once gave me, he said I have more grit than anyone he knows:-) and I paint my toes a “fast” color (like there is such a thing…haha!) hot pink, bright orange or lime green. Silly but necessary:-)

  6. I meditate before a race, try to keep cool and put my thoughts in order, even though the last race, no meditation would of helped me.

  7. The only thing I HAVE to do is…ahem….a few trips to the…ahem…port a potty.

  8. I don’t do much in terms of pre-race prep, but I have things I am superstitious about NOT doing. I don’t wear my Garmin, I don’t wear the race shirt on or before race day, and I don’t talk to many people about specific pre-race goals.

  9. I also do pre-race hair… but I shave my head (clippers, not razor) so it is more simple. I also have been drinking a Starbucks frap the day before a race. It has resulted in me running my fastest times in the last 4 races. I don’t mess with what works.

  10. I don’t like odd numbers, and I get very concerned before a race about what bib number I’ll have. I also eat the same thing before every race.

  11. I’ve tried to steer clear of things like that because otherwise, if I get something wrong, I would stress about it or use it as blame. I do always take two Immodium before a half-marathon though.

  12. I drink a beer the night before the race, it make me sleep better and also helps for “carbo loading” :)

  13. How much longer for voting for the magazine cover? I really hope you get it, been voting every day.

  14. This is embarassing, but I have to pee just before the start – even if it is a teaspoon!

  15. My toenails and fingernails have to be painted green. I did this before my first half marathon, and have done it ever since before a big race!

  16. I think this is a common one! Pretty sure I use the bathroom 5 times before each race even though I don’t really need to. :)

  17. I don’t have any superstitions yet… but have you read about Shalane Flanagan’s? it kind reminded me of yours :)

  18. I haven’t! I’ll have to google it :)

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