It’s almost here — are you ready?

It sounds delicious, but shoving a giant plate of pasta into your mouth the night before a race isn't such a great idea. / Photo by Getty Images

It sounds delicious, but shoving a giant plate of pasta into your mouth the night before a race isn't such a great idea. / Photo by Getty Images

Where did the time go? It’s hard to believe that a few months ago, we were talking about registering for the AJC Peachtree Road Race lottery, and now the race is only two days away.

Which begs raises the question — what are you doing over the next couple of days to make sure you’re in prime racing condition? I’m not talking about training — if you haven’t been training, well, good luck to you. Maybe it’ll be a 4th of July miracle and you’ll actually cross the finish line intact.

No, I’m talking about the things you do in two or three days leading up to the race to ensure success in crossing the finish line.

There are various schools of thought on what to do before a race, but most people agree on things not to do, many of them regarding what you eat and drink. For instance, contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not a good idea to consume a truckload of pasta the night before a run. Instead, eat moderate amounts of carbohydrates in the days leading up to the run.

Also, don’t go crazy on the water the night before. Drink what you would normally drink to stay hydrated. The morning of the race, drink 16 oz. of water about three hours before the race, and then one or two cups right before the race starts.

The thing most everyone agrees on — don’t try to get all fancy and switch things up in the couple of days before the race. If you don’t normally drink coffee, don’t do it the morning of the race. If you normally eat a piece of chocolate cake the night before a run, well, maybe you should re-think your eating habits, but in the spirit of keeping things the same, eat a piece the night before.

As for running the day before the race — it all depends on what works for you. Some runners swear by it, but others say they feel refreshed for race day if they didn’t run the night before.

Want some more tips? Runner’s World has a great list of eight tips for a successful run. Or visit the AJC Peachtree Road Race page for more stories, inspiration and information.

What are your go-to meals for the night before a race? Any other pre-race day or race day tips for newbies or other runners?

26 comments Add your comment

billy t

July 2nd, 2012
3:44 pm

2nd Year

July 2nd, 2012
3:49 pm

I am planning on drinking a few extra glasses of water in the next 2 days to try to combat that heat.


July 2nd, 2012
3:52 pm

I’m going on the all Varsity diet…recommend you all stay downwind.

Bernie Peterson

July 2nd, 2012
4:01 pm

Yvonne, you have misused the phrase “begs the question.” You were going for “raises the question.” Google “grammar girl begs the question,” read up and see if you agree… and don’t perpetuate this grammatical annoyance.


July 2nd, 2012
4:03 pm

I will be the one you see not running on July 4th, or any other day for that matter. I will probably still be in bed asleep when this thing starts Wednesday. But I will be sure to hydrate later in the day at the picnic.

Yvonne Zusel

July 2nd, 2012
4:06 pm

I do indeed agree, Bernie. Thank you!

Bernie Peterson

July 2nd, 2012
4:09 pm

No problemo. Thank you for the tips – I was planning on snarfing a bunch of spaghetti, but will take it eas(ier) now.


July 2nd, 2012
4:10 pm

I eat a nice blend of beans, which act as a intestinal turbo booster. Y’all don’t worry, I’m upfront this year right behind the Kenyans!


July 2nd, 2012
4:14 pm

This will be my 28th consecutive year of heading up the water station at the 5 mile marker in front of the High Museum. All past shirts will be hanging behind the station. Everyone stop by and hydrate before that last stretch to the finish.

Bernie Peterson

July 2nd, 2012
4:15 pm

From a sampling of the comments here, it seems that the majority of the participants in this race are planning to finish with doodoo britches.


July 2nd, 2012
4:31 pm

If everyone can please keep samples of doodoo my team will be collecting them at the finish line…please look for me and our G-Tech booth…this is seriously for a GT bio class that will measure substance and chemical composition in order to compare against our football team. Everyone knows the poo we put out on the field and are trying to do anything we can to fix this mess….Thank you GO DAWGS!


July 2nd, 2012
4:50 pm

Well I always like to get to bed a little early.BUT every year my little City has their fieworks on the 3rd.So every year I get 2-3 hrs sleep before it is marta time. Eat the pasta & drink the water!


July 2nd, 2012
5:04 pm

I plan to rest, have a good meal (salmon, cous cous and veggies) and get to bed early. GBA!

Atlanta Native

July 2nd, 2012
5:04 pm

While running this year, I will pine for the olden days when I ran the last PRR where the limit was 25,000 runners – before they notched it up to 50,000. You actually had space around you, room to move and more air to breathe, and onlookers could point you out and cheer you on individually. I will also look to the future when we slow runners are not additionally challenged by having to sweat it out in the heat and humidity for two hours after the official race start time, before we are even allowed to cross the darn start line. This also unduly pressures us slow runners to overdo it as we try to play ‘catch up’, followed by the extra humility of watching the faster runners coming TOWARD us, already waving their treasured T-shirts. How about a two-tier PRR, where the majority, the just plain fun runners, get to actually start at 8am; then let the serious competitors start at 10am?


July 2nd, 2012
5:21 pm

My trick has always been to drink a six-pack of beer the night before the race. I have been running it for 9 years now, and this trick has not let me down yet.

A T Hiker

July 2nd, 2012
5:58 pm

I trained this year by hiking the Appalachian Trail for 40+ miles 3 times in NC. I hope I am not in trouble…any advice from anyone that has also trained this way?

Atlanta Native

July 2nd, 2012
6:13 pm

AT Hiker: The physical and emotional energy of the crowd will push you forward and pull you through no matter your running ability. With 120 miles of hiking behind you, you’ll get that T-shirt!

John, Ducktown

July 2nd, 2012
6:14 pm

A T Hiker. If you can handle the heat and can jog 3 miles, then you can handle 6 miles 1 time. I know plenty of folks who make the run on very little training. For the first time, I haven’t run 6 miles yet this year, but run 2-3 miles w/o a problem. I’ll run the first 3-4 miles and walk the rest. I don’t recommend it, but it can be done. I’ve always felt it’s the longevity of how long you are out there, not so much the distance. Think about it, if someone can run the Peachtree in 45 minutes (A), someone else in 55 minutes (B) and then C runs it in 1hr 15 minutes. Do you realize that C is exercising 30 minutes longer than A and going the same distance? That’s obvious, but what I’m saying, if you can’t exercise for 75 minutes to 90 minutes, then you’ll never finish the Peachtree, period. So I’d say if you were hiking for at least 1 1/2 -2 hours non-stop, I really don’t see how you couldn’t finish the Peachtree. You may not be able to run the whole thing, but I’ve seen walkers do better than some joggers.


July 2nd, 2012
11:02 pm

I walked the course on Saturday morning, starting at the same time I’ll be leaving on Wednesday. I’m hoping that the temperatures match the forecast, because it will be ten degrees cooler. Whew!

Clearly some people appreciate it, but I can’t stand the people handing out T-shirts in front of Willy’s near the 3 mile mark. You’ve gone downhill for half the race, you’re getting near the first uphill part, and three quarters of the road is blocked by people trying to grab t-shirts. Some of us aren’t fast, and are in later time groups, but we still care about how long it takes to finish, and this isn’t helping!

Walkers stay to the right

July 3rd, 2012
8:28 am

Walkers stay to the right please.


July 3rd, 2012
9:11 am

Don’t worry “walkers” , I plan to. It’s way too hot this year to kill myself.

[...] be sure to read our blog from yesterday and drink some water today (and hopefully you drank some water yesterday, too). Be careful and pay [...]


July 3rd, 2012
3:10 pm

I’ll will still be in bed sleep. Good Luck all!


July 3rd, 2012
3:16 pm

They should really consider moving the start to 7am. Thankfully I made it to time group B, which starts at 7:35. I’ll have my first beer in hand before the walkers hit the start line. Good qualifying time FTW.


July 3rd, 2012
3:39 pm

@Atlanta Native

That’s why there are qualifying races, and why I will be joining blahblahblah for a cold one before you even approach the start line.


July 3rd, 2012
5:36 pm

It’s a 10k. You don’t need to carb up. For those who are worried about the walkers, if you had a decent qualifying time, you wouldn’t have to worry about the walkers.

I am sitting out due to an injury. 3 years ago, I lost 110 pounds and became a runner after being 300 for 30 years, I ran the Peachtree in 2010 and 2011. I am sad that I can’t run it this year but injuries are a part of the sport. have fun, everybody!