Main into my second Boston Marathon, I developed a ache in my decrease leg I assumed was shin splints. The evening earlier than the race, determined to keep off any aches I may need the subsequent day, I attempted one thing new: a pain-relieving cream containing capsaicin, the ingredient that makes peppers spicy.
I smeared on a heavy layer of it—greater than the beneficial quantity—and the ensuing fiery sensation saved me up all evening, once I desperately wanted sleep. The subsequent day, the discomfort was nonetheless there, plus I felt nauseous and dizzy as I made my method to the beginning line. I ran the race and completed, however logged a time far off my objective.
Afterward, I realized these “shin splints” have been really a stress fracture in my tibia.
The expertise sucked, but it surely taught me so much: Don’t run by means of ache, don’t strive something new the evening earlier than race day, and browse medicine directions fastidiously.
That was the worst factor I’ve ever completed proper earlier than an enormous race, and the educational expertise has caught with me by means of the next 10 marathons I’ve run over the previous 10 years. After all, I’m removed from the one runner to have endured such an unwelcome pre-race tutorial.
Right here, 16 different athletes—from leisure runners to elite marathon champions—share their last-minute slipups, what they took away, and how one can plan forward to keep away from comparable mishaps.
1. Don’t cram your fluid consumption.
“In 2009, I used to be about to run my first half-marathon: the Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon. Individuals all the time say to hydrate, however I’d ignored that recommendation all through my coaching. Twelve hours out from race time, although, appeared just like the time to start out heeding it.
Throughout my pre-race crew dinner, I made a decision to drink as a lot water as attainable to ensure I used to be hydrated. I drank eight—eight!—bottles of water. Only one after the opposite, like a frat boy at his first keg social gathering.
‘Cool,’ I assumed, as dinner ended. ‘I’m hydrated now!’ Besides that’s not likely the way it works, and as a substitute I spent the whole evening getting as much as pee. I in all probability didn’t get greater than an hour of uninterrupted sleep as a result of my bladder was so full.” —Ali Feller, host of the Ali on the Run Present (Hopkinton, New Hampshire)
Do drink often and usually: Take it sluggish, sipping often within the weeks and days main as much as your race, and comply with these pointers for ensuring you’re staying hydrated.
2. Don’t overlook to set the correct alarm.
“On the 2016 Chicago Marathon, I reset my recurring alarm for my right wakeup time, however forgot to keep in mind that I don’t have it set to go off on Sunday mornings. So the time I selected was set for each weekday, however not for Sunday—the day of the race.
I used to be awoken by my teammate Tatyana McFadden banging on my door once I had solely 5 minutes to get out of the resort. My recommendation: Just remember to have your alarm set for the right time and day. Additionally, having a supporter round who will be sure to’re up in time is a good reward as properly.” —Susannah Scaroni, skilled wheelchair racer who gained the 2022 Chicago Marathon championship and is racing the 2022 New York Metropolis Marathon (Champaign, Illinois)