Don’t Sabotage Your Race Before It Even Starts

Do not let all your hard work and preparation go down the drain.

It didn’t take me long to figure out how I sabotaged my Boston Marathon qualifying race. In fact, I figured it out as I was walking in the last 10 kilometres of the race because I had decided to jump up to a pace group that was faster than my target plan.

We’ve all been there. You finish a race and think, “What was I thinking? I know better than that!”

Race day nerves can cause the mind to wander and encourage us to destroy our race in many ways. But to get ahead of those negative vibes that are problematic on race day, it helps to identify some of the classic mistakes I still see runners make at every distance.

Don’t let these issues sidetrack all of your hard work and dedication to run your best.

  • You drink a new and never before tested smoothie pre-race because you heard someone at the expo talking about how it helped them run a personal record. Mixed with your nerves, you end up in the portaloo several times leading up to the gun going off.
  • You decide to break in a new pair of running shoes – again, maybe you picked them up for cheap at the expo. Those fresh new kicks help you develop a fresh new blister before the race even starts.
  • You scroll through your Strava feed to see all of your fast friends and their amazing recent times. Good for them, but you crush your confidence (and possibly your ego) by comparing yourself to other runners or friends instead of running your own race.
  • This is for those big city half and full marathons: you get inspired by the elite athletes performing their warm-up routine at the start line and decide to give it a try. (Look at how fast they sprint to get ready!) Instead of feeling prepped to run, you pull a muscle.
  • You line up early in a faster corral, thinking it will help you better navigate the crowds at the start. You end up running a full 50 seconds per kilometre faster than your target pace and wonder why you’re crashing before the halfway point.
  • You looked at the forecast the night before, but you forget that the weather can change drastically overnight. Because of that, you forgot to pack different gear to run in and line up with too many (or too few) layers on.
  • We all feel anxious, but you give yourself an “out” by telling your friends and family why you’re not going to run well. Surprise! You don’t run your best.

Subscribe to Runner's World

Related Articles