Fitness Friday: What NOT To Do During a Race

Running a half marathon in the Czech Republic
Running a half marathon in the Czech Republic

This post is mostly derived out of frustrating, although I’m trying to come at it from an educational angle! I’m not a road racing pro, that’s for sure, but I’ve run over 15 races in the last two years ranging from 5Ks up to half marathons, so I at least feel like I’m justified in adding some of my own commentary on to what NOT to do during a race.

So here’s my list of what you shouldn’t be doing during a race (as told by ME!):

Do not run more than two people abreast.

I realize some people run in packs or groups for motivation and support, but you have got to realize just how annoying it is to be the person behind a group of 5 people who are all running at the same pace, side by side. It’s a huge hurdle to get around and it’s ANNOYING. If you want to talk to your friend, fine, but keep it to two people side by side. There’s nothing fun about having to get around a wall of people.

Do not come to a complete dead stop in the middle of the pack unless you are actually planning on keeling over.

You’ve signed up for this race, you’ve (hopefully) trained for it… there is no reason you need to come to an abrupt dead stop in the middle of the crowd. You run the risk of causing a pile up and you’re definitely going to annoy the person behind you who suddenly has to go around you. If you need to bring your pace down to a walk, slowly, but purposefully, move to the outer left or right sides of the racing crowd (even up onto the sidewalk if need be) and then decrease to a walking speed. If you stop in the middle of the group (and you’re not actually dying) then be aware that everyone around you is going to be thinking evil, evil thoughts towards you (some may even say it outloud).

Do not wildly overestimate your running time and get situated in a totally inappropriate corral.

At some point, you need to face the reality of what your body can and cannot do. I’m not talking about the people that over or underestimate their race pace by about 5 minutes, but rather the ones that overestimate by huge chunks of time like 20 minutes. Even if you didn’t train appropriately, you can always fall back into a slower corral at the start with no fault or penalty. Consider that you’re actually slowing up other people in faster corrals if you cannot keep their pace since those people now have to go around (or through) you! There’s nothing more annoying than watching someone who is clearly unfit come to a grinding halt in a fast corral, almost cause a pile up and then watch as THEY get annoyed at everyone else. Like what the hell buddy?!

This also goes hand in hand with:

2015 Pride Run
2015 Pride Run

Do not sign up for the faster corral just because you want to be in the starting line pictures.

I’ve never actually experienced this one, but a friend told me about it. People who sign up for the elite pace times just so they can appear in the starting line pictures. Do not want. Go back to where you belong!

Do not come to an abrupt dead stop at the finish line.

I know, you’ve been running and you’re exhausted, but take an extra few seconds to clear an additional five to ten meters after the finish line. This helps to keep the finish line clear for other racers to finish.

Do not try out new gear the day of a race.

I’m even referring to the technical shirts they give you for free just for signing up. The last thing you want to find out is that your new sports bra is going to chafe you in area you don’t want to get chaffed, or that your spiffy new shoes are going to give you blisters. ONLY wear gear that you have run in multiple times before!

For new runners, I hope this helps you! Even seasoned runners can do with a friendly (lol) reminder every now and again (I personally need to make sure I don’t come to a grinding halt at the finish line!). Let me know if you think I left anything out, or if you have specific questions re: racing, I’d love to help you out!

22 thoughts on “Fitness Friday: What NOT To Do During a Race

  1. Ah I was a little nervous this was all going to convince me to never run in a race but it’s actually not bad considering I will be the last person to finish and always at the back I should avoid most of these issues easily 🙂

    1. When I first started running I was in the obese category (thanks BMI chart, thanks) and definitely at my heaviest weight (196 pounds at 5’3″/160cm).

      I still stop dead at some finish lines, so it’s a reminder to me too! Even if you walk just a few more paces you ease up the congestion in that zone.

  2. This is really useful as a new runner. I’ll probably never enter a race, because I run embarrassingly slowly, but if I do I definitely don’t want to be the person stopping in the middle of the crowd. Also, people trying to get in on the starting line photos? Ugh, I’m embarrassed for them.

    1. Races are a lot of fun, and I can guarantee you that you won’t be the last one across the finish line. It’s more about racing yourself and seeing how well you can do. I love the atmosphere too – everyone’s all pumped up. Loads of energy!

  3. This is super helpful post, Chelle! I know I sound like a broken record, but I really need to get my bum out for a run soon! Maybe we can chat about a running date tomorrow 🙂

    And as per one of your comments- that BMI chart is ultra rude 😉

    1. Yeah the BMI chart is a piece of shit, and I know it (since it really does not account for muscle), BUT it did spur me on to lose weight so I guess it’s good for something?

      And yes! We’ll chat tomorrow regarding running!

  4. PREACH. The stoppers would always get me. Like, please no.

    Wow I can’t even imagine signing up for a faster corral. All the races I’ve done I’ve been the opposite and picked the slowest corral, haha. That would not only be dangerous for you but for everyone else too.

    1. I mean I’ve over-anticipated how much I would get better, but we’re only talking like… 4-7 minutes here. There are people I’ve seen that can barely run and put themselves in full on running corrals. Makes no sense!

  5. These are all good things to keep in mind.
    I wish I could run marathons, but my knees won’t let me. I ran a 5K once and paid for it with 2 days of sore and stiff knees, so I usually walk them instead.

    1. Did you train for the 5k? I mean you play Ultimate and I find that WAY rougher on the knees than anything else I’ve done. All that cutting… owwwww.

      1. Yeah I didn’t really train cause it was right after the summer and I had played ultimate twice a week for 4 months, but I know it’s not the same thing.

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