You lose your mind (and heart)
Everyone is telling these days that running is an experience you can share with others, how it’s great to run with others, how others can help you etc. I’m sure it’s true for some of us, I myself have been always a lone runner (sounds like a Bruce Springsteen song but it’s less fancy) so I can’t tell. What I know for sure is that in the end running a race is between you, your legs and a finish line, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. So if you lose it during the race other can cheer you up but it’s your responsibility to get it together. How? Try to think how awesome it will be to finish, how much you want it. Try thinking about something unrelated to running. Try to smile. I know, it sounds stupid but it works. Your brain doesn’t’ know the fake smile from the real one so it sends all the good chemicals to your body no matter what. So smile, if it really won’t help (and I assure you it will) at least you’ll look good on photos.
It might not get so dramatic but intestinal issues can sometimes finish your race. How to prevent it? If you have a history of IG issues during the race analyze what went wrong. On my last race it went soo wrong because it was super hot and I took some energy/electrolyte drink at a race food point. Lesson learnt: don’t drink something that you haven’t used before or take it with a glass of water afterwards. If, nevertheless, you feel like your intestine is not having the best day, try to limit the damage: slow down, look for a potty, drink water or eat banana (sometimes helps). If you run in the cold weather cover your stomach before the race (two layers of clothes might do the trick).
Wordrobe malfunction or dressing not accordingly to the weather.
You probably know you should rehearse that, right? The clothes for the marathon should be comfortable and perfect for the weather conditions and you should wear them especially during your long runs. That’s the best way to know if you’re clothes are really comfortable, even the softest tshirt can become a nightmare after 13 miles, you’ll never know if you haven’t tried! Still it can happen that something goes wrong. What to do? First: prevention. Put vaseline where you could have chafing, you know best, probably arms and legs, maybe your feet as well? But if your running clothes are too much (hot weather) or not enough (too cold) you have two options: dress down which is taking away some of your clothes (up to you if throw them away or tuck in your waistline) or power through. Cause when you’re cold you could of course speed up but are you able to sustain the pace? If so, go for it, if not, maybe there are some hot beverages on the food stations?
I assume you wouldn’t start a race with an injury (of course we’re all in this so we know that we would definitely go for a race with an injury). But sometimes, just sometimes it happens that in the middle of the race something starts to hurt and I’m not talking about sore muscles. It happened to me more than once: throbbing knee from the 10th km in Athens marathon and something that felt like shin splints during my Venice marathon. I’m not going to suggest to power through because sometimes it can be serious. In my case it wasn’t, I was lucky but I had my doubts in case of Venice marathon, it was my first marathon after a stress fracture so you can imagine how I was freaking out. At the end I decided to finish the race and it’s still my PB to this day but I wasn’t sure it was a good decision until the pain went away. Like a week after a marathon. I was lucky but don’t push your luck if you feel like something is not right, PB is awesome but not always you’re running for it and months without running afterwards suck.
Mother nature can be a bitch
..and there’s nothig you can do about it #spoileralert
How you can limit the damage? Training. I’m not convincing you to look out for storm and hail when planning your workouts but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Meaning going out for a long run even if it’s raining or snowing. If you can do the same run later, sure , go for it. But if you can’t go anyway, rarely a race will be postponed because of rain. Training for a marathon is getting used to being unconfortable
The common thread of all those tragedies is being mentally prepared without obsessing about it. Anything can happen, it can change your result but most probably your reaction to the unexpected will matter the most.
What is the worst thing that happened to you during a race?
What’s your limit during a race, what you wouldn’t do to finish it?