Smart Ways To Fix Last Minute Half Marathon Problems
Half-marathon race day is nearly here. But what if disaster strikes? Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to fix common peak-week problems.
In an ideal world, you’d coast into every race calmly with a predictable taper. You’ve done the training, you’re completely organised, and nothing can go wrong.
But things can go wrong in race peak week. Here’s how to handle them so you arrive at the start line calm and collected
Your Kids Or Partner Gets Ill
As a female runner, chances are you juggle running with a busy family life. It’s quite possible that one or more of your children, or your partner, will get ill in the crucial final week before your race.
What to do: Don’t panic. You’ve managed not to catch their bugs and colds before, so you may not catch it this time. Dose up on vitamin C, stay hydrated, and take sensible precautions like extra hand washing. If it’s a bug, not a virus, consider using hand gel throughout the day.
You Catch A Cough Or Cold
Maybe it’s you that’s ill. What do you do if you develop a mild cold, cough or some other “above the chest” illness in your race peak-week?
What to do: Turn to your usual get-well-soon strategies, whether that’s over the counter medication or your own nutritional remedies. Eat well, drink lots of water, and get as much sleep as you can. Rest. Don’t panic, but be realistic: if you’re ill, it won’t be a good idea to put your body through a half-marathon. There will be other races you can do.
You Get A Digestive Or Stomach Problem
Even if you eat the same things as usual, you could come down with a stomach upset. If you choose to carb up, this could affect your digestion.
What to do: The thought of running a race with a dodgy tummy is enough to rattle the most experienced runner. Keep your food simple in peak week and don’t alter it from your usual food choices. If you do carb up, take a gentle approach and only use carb foods you know you can tolerate. Plan a dinner for the day before, and a breakfast for the race morning. Be honest about how much caffeine you can tolerate on race day. If you get a stomach bug, drink plenty of fluids, eat what you can (enough to keep your energy up without making the issue worse) and be realistic about the idea of doing the race.
You Don’t Sleep Well All Week
Nerves, anxiety, excitement, or a change in your work or home schedule could all mean you don’t get great sleep during peak week.
What to do: Rest when you can. Nap during the day if possible (just 20 minutes works wonders). Try not to get stressed about insomnia or disrupted sleep, it will only make the problem worse. Leave your phone and tablet computer outside the bedroom, eliminate as much light (from outside, and from digital devices) from the bedroom. Try an Epsom salt bath to wind down. Don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon or evening.
Sunburn Or Sore Skin
Unexpected sunny days can lead to unexpected sunburn or sore skin. If it’s on your shoulders or back, this could mean bad news for wearing a sports bra!
What to do: Try to avoid damaging your skin in the lead up to your race. Prevention is better than cure. But if you do get sun burned, scratched, blistered or chaffed, take measures to let the skin heal. Clean it if necessary, allow it to dry, then let it breathe. Let nature takes its course and don’t try anything extreme to speed the healing process. And stay out of the sun!
Your Support Crew Drops Out
Emotional issues can threaten the tranquility of peak-week, too. What happens if the support you expected for your big race isn’t there?
What to do: Accept that these things happen. Whether your friends and family are unable to support you at your race because of travel, financial or personal issues, there’s not a lot you can do. If you now have to go to your race alone, treat it as an adventure. Every single other person there will be there for the race, so you will be amongst new friends with the same passions and goals. Your race will be a very different experience, but that doesn’t mean it will be a bad one!
Despite your very best organisational efforts, there’s plenty that could go wrong which it outside your sphere of control. Major roadworks, a bad weather report, a lost hotel booking, or (in extreme circumstances) a necessary change to race location or start time.
What to do: Get as organised as possible well in advance of race day. Know when you are travelling, and how long it will take you to get to the race. Where and when is registration? How far is the car park from the check in? A few days before the race, check travel news and weather reports. Control what you can by being organised, but have a plan B for everything outside your control.
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