5 Ways to Ensure Your Race is an #epicfail

fri5Race day nerves are just part of the drill, right?  In the days before a big race, adrenaline buzzes around your body, hopefully surging at the right time to bring you home to a PR.  But what happens if you use that adrenaline unwisely, by going out too fast in the first couple miles?  Or what if that adrenaline misfires even before the gun goes off, or worse, before you have even gotten to the race venue?

As I found out at a half a few weeks ago, you turn your race into an #epicfail.  Take it from someone who’s been there and lived to tell the tale, it’s not pretty.  But then again, it certainly is part of becoming a well-seasoned runner.

So just in case you want to get well-seasoned yourself and “enjoy” the same kind of experience, follow the jump to read my sto–er…I mean guidelines.

It can happen to you!  img cc via Photo Extremist on flickr,
It can happen to you! img cc via Photo Extremist on flickr,

1. Set the alarm clock on your iPhone which has only 15% battery left and then before you go to bed…don’t plug the phone in to charge! If you want to get woken up in a mad panic by your significant other 45 minutes after your alarm was supposed to go off, make double sure that you have no back up alarms either!

2. Lie in bed after said panicked waking for an extra 5 minutes. Yes, do it, its really worth the stress. Now you are only 50 minutes late!

3. Do not set out any of your race clothing or prepare any of your food or drinks for the drive up to the start. Rather desperately grab your club uniform, race bib, compression socks and wet running shoes (which you decided to wash the day before the run and leave outside in the drizzle) as you sprint out of the house.  It’s best to eat nothing and go hungry for the half marathon!

4. Completely underestimate the length of the drive to the start, the lack of parking and the length of time it will take to do a late registration. Whatever you do, do NOT make your life easier when you are racing by pre-registering. Rather leave it to the last second so that you can really optimise the stress test that the race has turned into.

5. Wait until you are 200 metres from the start line and 30 seconds from the gun to put on your very tight compression socks and wet running shoes. It is no matter that when the gun goes off you only have one shoe and sock on and you will only start to run about 3 minutes after everyone else.  Have no fear, in your panic to catch the back of the pack you will use up the last of your stored glycogen from your last meal the night before and that last surge of adrenaline will spring your digestive tract into action as you realise that you did not visit the bathroom at all that morning.


I managed to finish the race unscathed, but it was not pretty. #epicfail


Have you ever epically failed at racing?  Give us your tips and tricks to make that race experience completely heinous!

An ultrarunning gal from sunny South Africa... I'm a mummy of two kiddos under 5, wife, runner (and attorney) from the balmy shores of South Africa. Although I am definitely a mid-packer I have the soul and aspirations of an elite athlete, sadly without the pedigreed legs! But every day I dream and work towards loftier goals... maybe a sub 20 5k to start?

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    1. Hey Jojo, I had recurring nightmares that I pitched up at Comrades Marathon without my running shoes and then it actually happened – luckily it was not at a 55 mile ultra and it was only a half marathon…. there were definitely a few moments when I considered sitting down and crying… but then I thought about how I would have to do the run later by myself and that stopped me!
      Needless to say, race prep the night before is now like a military operation in our house!

  1. Wait, were you following me last weekend?? An awful lot of this sounds familiar…

    Though I had the added joys of a terribly-organized race–no signs indicating where people should park, packet pick-up taking roughly a week (once I found it), etc.–and the added fail of somehow losing all sense of how to pace myself and spending most of the race alternating between an all-out sprint and walking. I don’t know what was up with that; I have done this before.

    At least my shoes were dry, though!

    1. Hahahaha Tina, this comment has made me feel better! I honestly could have turned this Friday 5 into a Friday 15 because plenty more went wrong but luckily i was limited in scope. I also did the all-out sprint / walk approach towards the end… its not a great tactic. Here’s to better races for both of us in future!

  2. Great article ,sober warning .Here is a tip from a veteran and one known to Peppadew:set out your kit on the floor at the foot of your bed ,starting with headgear ,vest ,shorts ,socks ,and tackies with watch and stuff like empty bag , track suit ,t shirt and bottle for liquid in close proximity-rather like a triathlon change of gear.You could be first to the start . .