During the summer months you can often find some races that are set to go off in the late afternoon or early evening. How different should your pre-race planning be for a race that runs at night versus one in the morning? Here are some tips to help you prepare for a late day or evening race.


Eat a good, hearty breakfast filled with proteins, fat and a little extra carbohydrates. Make your breakfast the biggest meal of your day. As the day moves on, eat a good lunch, making sure you have some more carbs for that stored energy. You can snack light throughout the rest of the day, but would not recommend a dinner or meal before the race. I normally stop eating about 2 hours before the race, making sure that everything I have eaten is absorbed before the starting gun goes off.

Like any other race preparation, don’t eat anything different or consume foods that may cause you stomach irritation.


A benefit of a late day or evening race is that you have all day to hydrate. Keep drinking water throughout the day to get yourself properly hydrated. Check your urine; yellow means you need to drink more, clear means you have drank enough. Shoot for a “lemonade” look to let you know when you are properly hydrated.

Having a cup of coffee (or iced coffee) is great to have a couple of hours before your race. The caffeine can give you a good spike of energy and for some coffee also helps the digestive system moving to help clear out before you run. Of course, stay away from too much coffee, soft drinks and no alcohol (until you cross the finish line).

Nerves and Anticipation

Try to relax throughout the day and not think too much about the race. Like a morning race, gather your gear the night before so you don’t have to worry about anything. If you are home during the day, do some light chores or take a slow, short walk to get rid of some energy. If you are at work, try to make it a quiet day and before you leave write down everything on your “work mind” so that when you leave your mind has no distractions or stress from the office.

Some last words of advice. Depending on where you live, you may have to bring bug spray. Don’t forget sun screen, depending on the start time. If the race is a night time run, bring some reflective gear. Most importantly, have fun!

For those local You2CanRun fans (New England), I will be running the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the Fifty 10K at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday night, July 3rd. If you are going to be there (they have a 5K too), give me a shout out on our Facebook page and maybe we can get a group together afterwards.

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