Taking part in a marathon race—
It sounds fun and exciting, doesn’t it? At the same time, we get jittery when we’re getting closer to the race day. No matter if you are a beginner or well-experienced, such tension may lead you to make a mistake.
Here are some stories of such mistakes and blunders by scene: before the race, on the day, and after the race. Let’s appreciate our peer runners who have shared unwelcome experiences and leverage them for the next race.
Too much preparation? Pre-race mistakes
You train diligently and here comes the race. It’s often said that a typical personality trait of runners is serious and hard-working, and such trait may possibly work adversely in some cases.
I often hear that runners suffer from lingering fatigue due to too much training before the race. Of course, the situation varies depending on runners, but I would recommend sparing 2-3 weeks before the race to eliminate all fatigue from training. Even if you undergo hard training during this period, it does not necessarily assure that you can perform well at a race.
A marathon race can be a kind of sports festival in a way and conveys a festive atmosphere. A big race often offers many pre-race events and I’m sure many of you look forward to having fun at those events. Many runners say that they enjoyed themselves too much and were exhausted before the race... Even if you trained and toned up your body before the race, you won’t be able to deliver a good result if you are overwhelmed by the festive atmosphere and get exhausted. So, stay sensible and enjoy yourself reasonably.
Anything can happen at a race. What kinds of accidents have runners faced?
You prepared well and stayed sober at the pre-race events, but still it’s too early to be relieved. Anything can happen on race day. A typical story is long lines for the toilets. “They were far longer than I had expected,” many runners complained. So, you’d better arrive at the race venue at least one hour before the race starts. It’s a nightmare if you have to run all the way to the finish line needing a toilet. If you are running in a big race, there can be long lines even for the toilets along the marathon course. I must say that you go to the toilet before the race if you aim for a good result.
running pace. There are GPS watches that instantly track pace, and I guess some runners may already count on them. That said, such handy gear can be useless if there’s “only a little battery left before the race”. You can get really upset and nervous if your big support suddenly runs out. Like body maintenance, you must also look after your support devices properly.
In addition, it’s also important not to be distracted by others. Partly due to tension, many runners start at a high pace and slow down in the latter half. It’s worthwhile telling yourself to keep pace and “run slower than usual” during a race.
Don’t forget about energy supplements and rest. Post-run routines are preparation for the next race
You must not lose focus even after you cross the finish line. As the well-known running sayings go, “a race continues until you safely return to your home” and “a marathon race doesn’t end until the next one starts”. Post-race activities will lead you to a successful run at the next race.
I do understand that you want to run as light as possible. However, you may get in trouble if you don’t carry snacks among your post-run items. If you join a big race, you should be able to find a convenience store or restaurant, etc. around the finish line area, but if a race is held in a remote area, you’d better take precautions. Even if there is a convenience store, it can be overcrowded with runners and you will find no food left. To avoid returning to your home with an empty stomach, you need to include small snacks in your post-race essentials.
Speaking of belongings, you also need outfits to change after the race. It’s quite understandable that you want to run light, go home light, and cannot be bothered to put your stuff in storage, etc. That said, if it rains, you may have to go home soaking wet and shivering. The autumn and winter are the most popular seasons for running race. Given that, if you get wet, you may suffer from hypothermia, which can cost your life. To this end, pack some outfits and change after the race.
I wouldn’t really recommend resuming training soon after the race. You may be able to deliver a better performance than you would expect in a marathon, but that means you also damage your body more. So, do have a good rest before resuming your training. It’s also often heard that when a runner resumes training soon after a race with lingering fatigue, they will damage their body, resulting in injury. I know you feel like running after a race as you’ve discovered new issues and challenges, but don’t push yourself too hard. To continue enjoying running without injury, you must have a good rest.