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Race Day Routine

By Sofia Marin | In Optimal Performance, Race Tips | on February 17, 2017

Imagine it’s race day. You’ve put in hours of hard training and dedication to get to this point. So how will you make the most of it and perform your best?

We suggest creating a Race Day Routine (see our example below!). Having a personalized pre-race routine can be a huge help when it comes to easing the mental burden and chaos that can accompany race day. Following a similar routine from race to race can keep you stay focused and calm ahead of an event, and it can be especially beneficial to easing your nerves. We find pre-race routines facilitate mental ease, confidence and lower stress levels, helping you to harness the inevitable nervous energy and direct it toward the race itself.

In order to craft your personalized Race Day Routine, reflect upon previous races where you’ve had succes. What helped keep you focused and poised? Think about your race-day personality. Do you like to keep to yourself in a quiet environment, or do you find it more helpful to socialize with others? Do you like warming up on the trainer because it helps you to focus, or are you better served by warming up on the open road away from the race venue?

Recognize your unique needs. Some riders enjoy structure and find they have more success when they follow a very specific race-day schedule, while other riders find they are most at ease with a loose plan with ample time for each task.

No matter which kind of rider you are, creating a personalized race-day routine can significantly lift your performance to the next level.

Here’s one example of a Pre-Race Routine that uses a structured time schedule:

Criterium – 2 p.m. Start

11 a.m.

Eat Small Meal

  • Simple carbs and easily digestible foods are best. Stick to foods you are accustomed to eating. See our blog on pre-race nutrition & meal recipes. Leave a 15-30 minute window after eating to avoid drinking fluids in order to support quick digestion and prevent bloating.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.


(Park, listen to music, meditate, visualize, zone out, do anything you find helpful)

12 p.m. – 12:20 p.m.


Bring: Wallet and Phone


12:20 – 12:45 p.m.

Pin race number

Fill Water Bottles (2 for the race, 2 for warm up)

Pump Tires to match course conditions

Ride around to make sure bike is in good working order, shifting well and brakes are good

Set up Bike in Trainer/on Rollers (if applicable)

Change into Kit

Get Race Food and Water Bottles Ready

1 p.m.

Warm Up (Rollers, Trainer or on Road)

Bring: Music and headphones (Choose a playlist: upbeat or calm)

1:30 p.m.

Helmet, Glasses, Gels/Food, Water bottles

Lock Car

A few minutes of Mental Calm & Deep Breathing

1:35 p.m.


1:40-45 p.m.

Head to Race Start & Line Up (the more prestigious the race, the earlier you need to line up)

2 p.m.

Go Time!

Creating your own race day routine is an excellent way to boost your performance. Following the same routine from week to week can help to reduce stress, increase confidence and sharpen focus. Experiment with your race-day routine, take notes and find what works best for you.

To learn more about optimal pre-race preparation, be sure to check out our blog post on Pre-Race Homework as a supplement to this piece.

Happy Racing!

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