Main into my second Boston Marathon, I developed a ache in my decrease leg I assumed was shin splints. The night time earlier than the race, determined to thrust back any aches I might 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 advisable quantity—and the ensuing fiery sensation stored me up all night time, once I desperately wanted sleep. The following day, the discomfort was nonetheless there, plus I felt nauseous and dizzy as I made my technique to the beginning line. I ran the race and completed, however logged a time far off my aim.
Afterward, I realized these “shin splints” had been truly a stress fracture in my tibia.
The expertise sucked, nevertheless it taught me so much: Don’t run by means of ache, don’t strive something new the night time earlier than race day, and browse remedy directions rigorously.
That was the worst factor I’ve ever carried out proper earlier than an enormous race, and the training expertise has caught with me by means of the following 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 related 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 at all times 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 crew dinner, I made a decision to drink as a lot water as doable to verify 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 your entire night time 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 Show (Hopkinton, New Hampshire)
Do drink commonly and usually: Take it gradual, sipping commonly within the weeks and days main as much as your race, and comply with these guidelines for making sure you’re staying hydrated.
2. Don’t overlook to set the proper alarm.
“On the 2016 Chicago Marathon, I reset my recurring alarm for my right wakeup time, however forgot to bear 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 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 you’re up in time is a good reward as effectively.” —Susannah Scaroni, skilled wheelchair racer who gained the 2022 Chicago Marathon championship and is racing the 2022 New York Metropolis Marathon (Champaign, Illinois)