Today I’m sharing 10.5 Things That Can Happen At Your Half Marathon – and what to do about them.
No matter how hard your train or eat or sleep or prepare sometimes things go wrong on race day. It’s not ideal, but you can work around it if you stay calm and deal with the issue. I always get questions from readers asking for last minute tips. Well, I think this is better than tips – it’s a problem/solution combo in case any of these happen to you. If you have any specific questions on potential race day issues please leave them in the comments or ask me via email. Happy Running!
Things that can go wrong (or right) during a race and how to deal with it…
1. The porta potty lines are soooooo long.
What to do: Get in line and go. Trust me, you want to take care of this before you start running. Your time doesn’t start until you cross the starting line so it’s okay if the race begins without you. Just pee and get to the race.
2. You are super crazy nervous and scared.
What to do: This is totally normal. After 30 half marathons I still get nervous before races. I think most runners get pre-race jitters no matter how well they prepared.
Stay positive and say a little prayer or repeat your mantra. Just keep telling yourself over and over “I can do this, I can do this…”
3. The weather is super HOT or COLD or RAINY!!?!?!!
What to do: Check the weather for the temperature and conditions during the race. Dress appropriately. If it’s going to be cold bring ‘throw away’ gear to wear before the race.
If it’s raining there’s not much you can do except look at it as an adventure. You’re going to get wet, your shoes are going to get squishy. But unless you’re made of sugar, it’s going to be okay.
Under any extreme weather conditions consider tweaking your race goals. Super hot or cold weather (especially if you haven’t been training in it) makes it harder to run fast and hit a PR.
4. You are super pumped up and want to run FAST and keep up with the people around you.
What to do: Hey hey hey, calm down there lil runner. Don’t go out too fast. You will regret it later.
Don’t pace yourself according to the people around you. Keep yourself around the pace you set before the race.
5. Your stomach hurts.
What to do: Assess if it’s nerves or a fueling issue. If you need to go to the bathroom – go. If you need to change up your fueling plan – change it. If you have to poop your pants – don’t (stop and find a porta potty.)
The combination of being nervous and running fast can make your stomach feel off. It’s important to identify what the deal is and try to calm whatever is hurting whether it’s by walking, sipping water, eating something, going to the bathroom or something else.
6. You hit a wall.
What to do: Slow down. Fuel up if you need it. Walk. But keep going keep going keep going.
You can fight through a wall. You might need a walking break (or a few of them), that’s okay. Stop at the next aid station, get hydrated and eat something. Then, keep going.
7. You feel amazing!
What to do: GOOOOOO!!!! This is your day. Run fast. Keep going! PR the shlt outta this race. Do it.
8. You start to chafe.
What to do: Rip off whatever is chafing you and run nekkid. Kidding! Consider stopping at a medical aid station and asking for vaseline. Slather it on and keep running. Or stop to adjust your clothes where you’re chafing and then get to running again. If this isn’t an option – keep going and tough it out.
9. All you can think about is pancakes and pizza and pizza flavored pancakes…
What to do: Plan your post-race meal and keep running.
10. Something hurts.
What to do: Identify the issue – What hurts? On a scale of 1 to 10 how bad does it hurt? If it’s more than a 3 consider stopping to walk and check on the problem area.
If it’s something you’ve felt before with no issue, keep going. If it’s new or feels like an injury (versus fatigue), stop and stretch, get ice or give yourself a short break to figure out a plan for the rest of the race. Running through an injury isn’t smart and can result in long term damage so be honest with yourself and run accordingly.
10.5. You are having so much FUN.
What to do: Enjoy it! Remember all the fun stuff. Take pictures. Feel the energy from the crowd. Have fun and keep going.
Now you CELEBRATE!!!
If you have any specific questions on potential race day issues please leave them in the comments or ask me via email.