10 Yoga-Inspired Tips For Pre-Race Calm

Last updated on December 17th, 2021

Runners are some of my favorite people on the planet. I’m always super “in awe” of anyone who trains hard for and runs a race of any distance. The obstacles we must overcome to accomplish this goal are part of the journey.

When the hardest part of the training is over, it’s time to taper down, recharge and fuel up for race day.

Below are some yoga-inspired tips to help you stay flexible, relaxed and recovered leading up to race day, whether you’re running your first marathon, half, a triathlon, a 10K or a 5K.

Here are some yoga-inspired tools for your taper down.

1) Set an intention. How do you want to feel on your race day? Why are you running? Who can you thank for supporting you on your journey? What are you grateful for? Taking a little time out to set an intention for your race day, to contemplate all the obstacles you’ve overcome to get this far and to be grateful for your legs and feet that have carried you so far… all these little things can be super helpful for your mind, body and spirit on race day.

2)  Keep it simple. If you’ve already been practicing yoga during your training, fine – take whatever yoga class your body is used to. But if not, now is not the time to be adding new training into your program. Look for formats that are geared toward runners and are more restorative. Wait until the off season for the more challenging classes. It’s all about the balance between willpower and chillpower. But sometimes less is more, so avoid throwing anything crazy into the mix during your taper.

3) Practice breathing, visualization or meditation. Learning to improve the quality of your breathing can make a huge difference in your performance and can create that calm, focused energy you want for your race day.

4) Fuel your Prana (life force energy). Every cell in your body will thrive if you consciously fuel and nourish it. Eat nutrient-dense foods! Get extra sleep. Drink a green smoothie or try some wheat grass shots. HYDRATE! It sounds so obvious, but in our busy world, these simple things get skipped.

5) Put your legs up the wall?! Yep. But this one is most important for AFTER your race… One of the poses I love most for runners is Legs up the Wall pose. It’s so simple yet so effective and restorative to invert your legs after a long run. If you’re not sure how to do it, watch the following segment which includes a few other gentle, restorative poses…

6) Book a massage or try self-massage with a foam roller or myofascial release balls, which can extend the life of your massage. These inexpensive tools can be used before you stretch to help loosen up tight tissue. Here is a foam roll and stretch segment to try.

7) Superfood load to boost your immune system… Extra vitamin C (I love a Camu Camu smoothie with berries, raw honey and coconut milk), bone broth chicken soup with lots of nutrient-dense veggies, garlic, onions and parsley and Himalayan salt), limit inflammatory foods (like sugar, dairy, and alcohol), hydrate well with lots of water (try adding in coconut water), add in hot lemon water with ginger and raw honey or some of my other favorite anti-inflammatory hot drinks like golden milk latte with turmeric.

8) Get extra sleep and enjoy an epsom salt bath (with some lavender or Serenity Blend essential oil to support rest and relaxation).

9) Try essential oils to help support rest and relaxation, to increase “calm energy” for race day and to support immune defenses leading up to race day (because catching a cold or flu after all those months of training runs is the worst).

The oils I like most for runners are:

  • Deep Blue Rub (helps soothe tight, sore muscles)
  • On Guard Blend (to support immune defenses against seasonal colds and flu bugs)
  • Serenity Blend (to support restful sleep)
  • Peppermint Oil (to boost energy and endurance. I mix a few drops of peppermint with a little bit of coconut oil and put on my feet before I run… both energizing and moisturizing, plus my running shoes always smell minty fresh 
  • Motivate Blend (an orange, peppermint combo that I use daily to help keep my spirits and energy lifted before any challenge. I keep one in my purse and one in my car!)

It’s important you use the highest quality essential oils possible. Just like you don’t want to use low-grade gas in your high-performance car, you don’t want to use low-grade fragrance oils on your high-performance body! If you’re interested in ordering or learning more about doTerra essential oils, you can click here.

10) To get RACE-DAY READY, try this Pre-Race Calm segment … 

Mostly, enjoy your race day journey.

Be grateful for all you have overcome to cross the finish line.

And run with a high heart!

In yoga, Mountain Pose is all about good posture, alignment and an open, lifted heart always lifts the spirits. Sometimes, when I fatigue, I imagine a string is pulling me forward from my heart. It may sound weird, but boy does it help me get up hills! When we fatigue, the posture slumps which restricts breathing and has a negative effect on energy and performance. So lift your heart, smile, breathe deeply and run with a high heart!

The more you fill your cup and fuel your Prana (life force energy) leading up to race day, the more relaxed, resilient and energized you’ll be to enjoy every step of your journey.

Karen Dubs is a yoga, nutrition and wellness coach. She teaches yoga for sports conditioning and flexibility and recovery for athletes. Follow Karen on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.