Race day superstitions

There are a few superstitions I follow in day-to-day life, like knocking on wood or avoiding black cats and walking under ladders. I picked up a couple in my year living in Russia, too – I won’t sit down on concrete, for example (makes women infertile!), or buy an even number of flowers or put an empty bottle of vodka on the table after finishing it.

But what about running-related superstitions?

I went to Runner’s Choice to get my race kit today for tomorrow’s Refridgee-Eighter eight miler, which included the t-shirt:


I never, ever wear the t-shirt until after the race. Anyone else do this? I feel like if I were to put it on before I run the actual distance, then I’m setting myself up to DNF (do not finish). I know logically this doesn’t make sense – you usually see quite a few runners at races wearing the race shirts, and I’m assuming they all finish. Or maybe I’m afraid if I wear the shirt before, I won’t run as fast or something will go wrong. So I save the shirt to change into afterwards! I feel like I’ve earned it, if that makes sense!

Other race day superstitions I follow:

– do the exact same stretches I always do before every run (arms out and twisting side from side for about 30 seconds, 4 side bends, hip flexor swings, 6 – 10 on each side…I don’t understand the random numbers, somehow they make sense in my weird mind)

– last minute trip to the bathroom

That’s it, really. I still haven’t figured out the perfect pre-race fuel that works best for me so I don’t have a go-to meal the night before. Something carb-y, but I need to get that down to a science before Boston! I also don’t have a lucky pair of underwear or flavour of GU or anything like that.

Out of curiosity, I looked up some superstitions and rituals famous athletes have. Here are a few:

– the universal one is apparently putting on your uniform in a specific order. Wayne Gretzky is one example. He put his pads on in the exact same order every time – left shin pad, left stocking, right shin pad, right stocking. Then pants, left skate, right skate, shoulder pads, elbow pads, first left and then right, and finally the jersey, right side tucked into his pants.

– playoff beards. ‘Nuff said.

– Tiger Woods’ red shirt.

– Steve Nash licks his fingertips before each shot at the free throw line.

– Boston Celtics’ shooting guard Paul Pierce ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich 55 minutes before every game.

What about you – are you superstitious in your day to day life? What about when it comes to sports and/or running?

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