You can protest it all you like, chances are if you’re a runner, or have been running for a while, you have some sort of routine in place that you have deemed necessary for a successful run. Any run. And you will stick to that routine like gum in your hair.

I’d like to submit for the record, exhibit A as to why runners are high maintenance:

Our pre-run routines.

From the food we eat and the things we drink (and in what order), to exactly how many hours we have to get up before a run in order to get to the other “must complete” items on our list before we head out the door; we really are the prima donnas of sport.

At home, these things are often seamless events. On the road, it’s another story. If you’re travelling to Whistler for this race, make sure you think about how you’re going to accomplish parts of your morning routine (this may mean pre-toasting bread at home and packing it with you to make your pre-race toast, pb and banana, for example). Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.08.07 PM

I’ll submit myself as an example of a guilty party, and provide my own routine below for your own comparison. I am not a roll out of bed and go kind of runner. Not even close.

Being an early morning runner, especially through the dog days of summer when I’d rather be swimming in the lake than running in the sun, I am usually up at 5am if it’s a run day. I meet my running partners around 6am, so I have about 45-50 mins to get some items checked off the list. A few of them have absolutely zero to do with running, but are part of my routine on a daily basis nonetheless so they have a spot in the schedule.

You might say my morning routine is always high maintenance. It’s okay, I forgive you.

  1. Tongue scrape and oil pulling. Yup, I’m one of those crazy people who gets up and scrapes the sludge off of her tongue first thing in the morning and then swishes coconut oil (with a drop of peppermint or clove essential oil) around my mouth for 20 mins before I eat or drink anything. You can go here and here to learn why both are practices I recommend to everyone.
  2. While I’m oil pulling, I boil the kettle for my warm lemon water and get myself dressed. This is usually done in my kitchen, because I live in a small townhouse and have young children that I’d like to not wake up before walking out the door.
  3. I also try to take some time to do a gratitude and intention setting journal session for the day, I have an app on my phone called The Five Minute Journal that I use for this.
  4. Oil pulling done, I rinse my mouth out with warm water and then sit down with my lemon water. If I was really prepared, the night before I’ll have made a smoothie of some sort and will start drinking that, but if we’re going to run less than 10km I generally don’t eat anything before my run (I know, some will say that’s not good and even I don’t recommend it, but it is just what works for my body). I’ll also try to down a full litre of cold water before leaving the house, just to make sure I’ve got fluid in my system.
  5. TMI ALERT Absolutely, hands down, most important thing for me before running is evacuating the system. It actually FREAKS ME OUT when this doesn’t happen before a run because….well, let’s just say there have been some “incidents”. I will choose to be late if I have to in order to get this done; it’s better for everyone involved.
  6. Lip balm. Must have, on lips and in pocket.

There you have it. A high maintenance pre-run routine. Guilty as charged, but I know that on the days when something on this list doesn’t happen my run game is off and I hit the pavement feeling not quite right.

I guess the lesson here is that as long distance runners especially, we have a lot of time out there for other things to go wrong. It doesn’t matter how much you train and prepare, race day is still race day and whatever is going to happen will happen; things we have no control over. Runners like to control as much as possible leading up to the race so as to ensure that should those beyond-our-control things happen on the run, we know that we have a good foundation in our system to handle it. Sometimes that foundation is merely in the mental and emotional comfort that we get from those routines.

Never Stop Exploring ❤,

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  1. trailmomma says:

    Evacuating the system is huge but not a reason to not leave the home. Aimee gives great points and tips. If you system fails you before you leave, know the starting the line area and porta potty set up. You still have time. Also, keep in mind, generally it takes two hours for th body to process most food not counting nerves and other extraneous issues at hand. 😉 I also agree, depending on your level and ability, eating before a 10k is hit or miss depending on what your week looks like leading up to that run. Great post Aimee!!

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