Staying Warm Before a Race

posted in: races, running, triathlon | 0

Staying warm before a race can be a challenge when you’re either racing during the winter months or if the morning of the race is chillier than it will be during the race.

If you’re running a larger race with a lot of participants, whether it’s a 5k or a marathon, chances are you’ll be waiting in a corral for a while before the start gun goes off. And staying warm before the race isn’t just about comfort, it can affect how well you race.

Staying Warm Before a Race

Try these options to stay warm before your race starts:


Start with some easy jogging followed by a good dynamic warm-up. This prepares your body for the upcoming race by increasing heart rate, breathing, and core temperature.

While your pre-race warm-up may keep you warm for a little while, when you’re standing in a corral and waiting for the start, you’ll quickly begin to cool-down. So while you wait, try to do a few dynamic movements, such as high knees, to keep your muscles warm. Just be sure to check around you and stick to ones that won’t get another runner accidentally kicked as you move around.

Dress in Layers

The layers you wear will depend on how cold it will be both before and during the race, as well as what you plan on wearing to race (singlet vs. long sleeves).

Wearing a long sleeve or light running jacket on top of your race clothes will keep you warm while you wait and is something you can easily tie around your waist once you get running.

If you don’t want to carry an extra top or jacket, then consider wearing arm warmers which can be tucked away when you no longer need them.

If it’s chilly at the start and will be warming up during the race, you can wear a cheap pair of sweats you don’t mind throwing away. You can wear the sweats while warming up and waiting in the corral, then get rid of them either at the start or a few miles into the race. This is a pretty popular option at marathons. Some races will collect the thrown-aside sweats and donate them. Before choosing this option, be sure to check the race rules about leaving clothing behind.

Wear a Hat and Gloves

Keeping your head and hands warm are a great way to keep yourself warm. And just like arm warmers, once you warm up, you can take them off and tuck them away.

Drink Warm Fluids

Having a cup of your pre-race coffee or tea will warm you from the inside. If you can take a cup with you to the corral, you’ll stay hydrated and warm.

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