If you’re heading out on a long or hard training workout, give yourself a psychological boost while also gameplaying for your (eventual) race day by dressing for your goal race. Most athletes we work with skip this step and on race day, end up with barely used hydration packs, jerseys that aren’t broken in and have weird, itchy seams, a chamois that doesn’t fit quite right, or running clothes that chafe despite looking super cool.
Read more about the science: Finding Your Inner Superhero: The Psychology of Performance Clothing for Athletes
Consider the following elements as you get dressed:
- The mainstays: this is the jersey and shorts that you’ll wear on race day
- The weather gear: will you potentially need a raincoat? Next rainy ride, make sure you’re wearing the one you’ll race in
- The hydration: Packs or vests need to be tested and practiced in order to be used the most effectively, so wear this even on shorter rides or runs!
- The small accessories: Even thinking about small pieces like gloves and socks can make a difference — no one wants to get to the start line only to realize that a pair of gloves pinches and makes your pinky finger go numb
- Any race day requirements: Do you need to have lights or a headlamp for this particular race, or be carrying some type of jacket or safety gear? What about a number belt, in the of case of triathletes? Sometimes, these little pieces of gear can throw off our stride. (In the case of a triathlon number belt, runners with sensitive guts may find it takes some getting used to, and doing so on race day is a recipe for disaster!)
- Skin stuff: What sunscreen, bug spray, chamois cream or chafe stick will you be using on race day? It’s worth testing to make sure it doesn’t bother your skin, that it does the intended job, and that doesn’t drip into your eyes to cause stinging after a sweaty effort.
- How the whole darn thing makes you feel: Once you’re wearing what you plan to wear in the race, think critically about how it makes you feel right now. Do you feel fast? Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel like a badass? If not, are there any tweaks you can make to change how your kit makes you feel? If so, now is the time to do that — don’t wait until race day!
Make it a uniform! If you can convince yourself that when you put on this race day outfit, you’re getting ready to do battle, your workouts will likely benefit and you’ll build serious confidence for race day.