Have you ever had a race where you made all the wrong mistakes? It’s a shame when you work so hard training for a race and have it all fall apart because of a few missteps.
I’m joining Marcia, Patty, and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run and this week we’re talking about the running and racing mistakes that we’ve made! Even the most experienced runners can still make a few of these…check out my list of common race day mistakes that you should avoid, and how to prevent them from happening!
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You’ve been training for months for your big race, you’ve put in the work, and when the day finally comes something – or maybe everything – goes wrong! It doesn’t matter if you’re running your first race of if you’re a veteran – sometimes sh*t happens!
If you’re a new runner, it’s especially important to avoid those potential pitfalls that can really throw you off your game. That’s why I’d like to share 5 race day mistakes I have made over the years so that you can make sure not to do the same!
When it comes to logistics, there are so many factors that must be considered before you even get to the race. Are you traveling for the race or are you local? Is there race day packet pickup or do you have to go to an Expo? Are you driving or taking public transportation? What roads will be closed? How much is parking? Do you have family and friends cheering for you on the course – where will they be? How will you meet up after the race? Do you have reservations for brunch? I think you get the idea…
For example, if you run the Broad Street Run in Philly, you better know in advance that taking the subway Broad Street Line is going to be a nightmare with tens of thousands of runners and spectators, so you have to get on the train as early as possible! You also have to know that at the finish line in the Navy Yard, cell phone reception will be nonexistent, so plan accordingly!
Sometimes I find it surprising when I hear from so many people that they’ve signed up for a race but have never looked at the course. For veteran runners, I get it – but if you’re a beginner, even if you’re running for fun, it’s important to know what’s what for your personal safety and well-being!
Now I’ll be honest – I did make this mistake for the Cherry Blossom Run. While I did glance at the map, I didn’t really look at it thoroughly or do further research. On race day, I was surprised at how narrow the running route was for much of the course, and I had no idea where the water stations were until I saw the signs. Maybe I could have saved a couple of minutes if I had taken the time to check that out? Thankfully, I did know about the big hill near the end of the race!
You’re at the starting line, your emotions are high, the horn/gun fires and now you’re off! You feel amazing and you just want to fly….but DON’T DO IT! Starting out too fast is one of the biggest mistakes a runner can make, and it can completely destroy all of your training. This has happened to me several times, most often at 5K races. When I ran the Run for Clean Air for the very first time back in 2012, my friends were all on pace to run 21-22 minute races. I tried to hang with them as best as I could, but I quickly ran out of gas. Even this year when I ran the race, I pushed myself farther than I knew I should have gone. And then the rest of the race had me feeling pretty crappy.Starting out too fast is one of the biggest mistakes a runner can make #runchat Click To Tweet
I see it all the time. It’s chilly on race morning. So you’re wearing your favorite running gloves and hat. Then while you’re on the course you overheat and want to throw everything off! Balancing the changes in the weather is always tricky and takes a bit of practice to know exactly what works best on certain weather days. Hopefully, if you’ve trained well, you can handle any weather! But wrapping jackets around your waist or sweating through a pair of gloves is not the way to go, as it can be a nuisance while you’re running a race!
This is another BIG mistake that runners make! And again, I’m guilty. I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon in relatively new (and untested) shoes. I didn’t start fueling for any long distance races until last year when I started working with Kristy for the Rock and Roll Half. I’ve had strange meals on days before a race, and I’ve tasted pretty awful sports drinks that I should have avoided. Oh yeah, and don’t forget chafing in ill-fitting shorts!
While some situations on race day are unavoidable (the weather man isn’t always right!), it’s very important to trust your training and stay focused on your goals. Spring racing season is still underway and if you’re training now, I wish you the best on your goals. Just don’t make these 5 race mistakes and you’ll be sure to have a great race day!
Have you ever made any of these race day mistakes or have other words of advice? Share your stories!