What's the Purpose of a Shakeout Run?

Photo: Stephanie Franklin for RUNGRL

Photo: Stephanie Franklin for RUNGRL

By Natalie Robinson

Your long-awaited race day is drawing closer. You have followed your training plan down to the final week. Race day jitters are brewing as you think ahead to toeing the starting line on race day.

Your training plan probably calls for a shakeout run before your race and, if you’re somewhat new to racing, you may wonder, ‘What is a shakeout run anyway?’

A shakeout run is a short, easy run, typically the day before (or even hours before) a race.

“But why in the world would I run right before my race?” you may wonder. “Shouldn’t I be resting and saving my energy?”

Active.com notes that this is a common misconception of newbie runners: “Many novice runners think that sitting down prior to a race to conserve the most energy possible is the way to go, this is not the case.” Many practiced and professional runners have strategically and routinely incorporated shakeouts into their race training plan.

Here’s why a shakeout run is important:

Release race day nerves

The days leading up to race day can be anxiety-inducing. You start thinking about your training, doubt may set in, and you just flat out feel nervous. The shakeout is an opportunity to release those feelings before your race.

Preview the course

Depending on the race course and race road closures, the shakeout run gives you a last minute preview of the race course before it is filled with hundreds of other runners. If you’ve traveled for a race, you may never have set foot on the road you’re set to cover on race day. Use your shakeout run as a mini test drive.

Keep limbs loose and stimulate blood flow

Photo: Dominique Burton for RUNGRL

Photo: Dominique Burton for RUNGRL

Runner’s Connect explains that the “most important benefit of the shakeout run is that it stimulates your central nervous system and gets the blood flowing to the muscles to help loosen them up.” During training, you spend time warming up and stretching, so don’t abandon your proper warm up right before your big race. The shakeout warms you up and gets limbs loose and ready for your miles ahead.


There is such a feeling of community in moments before a race. Thousands of other runners all lined up at sunrise on a Saturday or Sunday morning to cover the same miles. Race day can also be a bit hectic. Making sure you have enough time for your pre-race rituals and routines, fueling, connecting with your racing friends at the starting line. Your shakeout run offers the chance to run with your friends the day before (or hours before) the race, just in case you don’t see them along the course. You’ll have the support of your community, your homegirls, and other runners running in the same race.  

Natalie Robinson RUNGRL

Natalie Robinson

Co-founder and Chief Sponsorship Officer