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 following 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 advisable quantity—and the ensuing fiery sensation stored me up all evening, once I desperately wanted sleep. The following day, the discomfort was nonetheless there, plus I felt nauseous and dizzy as I made my solution to the beginning line. I ran the race and completed, however logged a time far off my purpose.
Afterward, I discovered these “shin splints” had been really a stress fracture in my tibia.
The expertise sucked, however it taught me loads: don’t run by way of ache, don’t attempt something new the evening earlier than race day, and skim medicine directions rigorously.
That was the worst factor I’ve ever finished proper earlier than an enormous race, and the educational expertise has caught with me by way of the next 10 marathons I’ve run over the previous 10 years. In fact, 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 slip-ups, 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 begin heeding it.
Throughout my pre-race group dinner, I made a decision to drink as a lot water as potential 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 get together.
‘Cool,’ I believed, as dinner ended. ‘I’m hydrated now!’ Besides that’s probably not 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 gradual, sipping often within the weeks and days main as much as your race, and observe these pointers for ensuring you’re staying hydrated.
2. Don’t overlook to set the appropriate alarm.
“On the 2016 Chicago Marathon, I reset my recurring alarm for my appropriate wakeup time, however forgot to take into consideration 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 lodge. My recommendation: Just be sure you 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 superb reward as properly.” —Susannah Scaroni, skilled wheelchair racer who received the 2022 Chicago Marathon champion and is racing the 2022 New York Metropolis Marathon (Champaign, Illinois)