Runners are tough–like, really tough. It’s just you, your mind and your body trudging through a race, and we’re not trying to diminish that mental and physical fortitude. But as most runners know, in the few days, and especially hours, leading up to a race we can be a little precious. Being very careful with what you eat and do leading up to a race is actually an important part of your race prep, but to the uninitiated, a runner can certainly come off as an adult newborn.

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We sleep as much as a baby

Runners sleep a lot. Most sports professionals will recommend a runner get between eight and 10 hours of sleep as it prevents injury, sickness and allows a runner to go harder the next day. These are all things that are key to getting better at the sport. Oh, we require race-day naps (probably in the afternoon, post-race for a marathoner and pre-race for a track runner).

We eat literal baby food (and other mushy, soft forms of nourishment)

In and around race day, runners like to keep it simple food-wise. We’re looking for easily digestible foods that are good for us and won’t upset our stomach. Lots of runners even buy baby food to take like a gel pre-race, or Pedialyte to keep themselves hydrated on particularly hot days.

We can’t be in the sun for too long

Leading up to race day, the last thing a runner wants is a sunburn. The same way you put a baby under an umbrella, runners do the same for themselves pre-competition.

We can’t walk for too long

If only an adult stroller were socially acceptable. Runners like to stay off their feet when possible before a big race, as we’re trying to conserve energy for the physical trauma we’re about to put our bodies through. We know it’s a little ridiculous, but no, we’re not going on a hike with you the day before a race.

Someone else picks out our outfit

Whether you’re racing for team Canada or running for your local run shop, someone has picked out a race day kit for you–not all that dissimilar from when you were a baby.

Schedule is important to us

A baby gets fussy when its schedule is thrown off, and so does a runner. Especially around race day, a runner likes things to go according to plan, and if it doesn’t, don’t be shocked if you see a minor tantrum.

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