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Common Racing Mistakes to Avoid

Common Racing Mistakes to Avoid
By , About.com Guide

Racing Mistake #1: Going Out Too Fast

Making mistakes during road races is very common, especially if you’re new to road racing. Here are some of the most common racing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

One of the biggest rookie mistakes in racing is going out too fast in the beginning of the race. Most runners have at least one story about a race when they felt so great during the first few miles that they ran ahead of pace, only to crash and burn during the final miles. The problem is that if you go out too fast, you’ll burn through your stored energy too quickly and your muscles will fatigue faster, leaving you feeling tired and depleted toward the end of your race.

The racing solution: Here are some ways that you can avoid going out too fast:

  • Deliberately run your first mile slower than you plan to run the final one. It’s tough to do, since you’ll most likely feel really strong in the beginning. But keep in mind that for every second you go out too fast in the first half of your race, you could lose as much as double that amount of time in the second half of your race.
  • Try to make sure you’re in the correct starting position. Don’t start yourself with faster runners because you’ll most likely try to keep up with them.
  • Start your race at a comfortable pace and make sure you check your watch at the first mile marker. If you’re ahead of your anticipated pace, slow down. It’s not too late to make pace corrections after just one mile.
  • Keep telling yourself that lots of other runners are going to pass you in the first mile. But you’ll be passing a lot more later in the race.
  • Practice starting out slow during training runs. When you do your long run each week, try to hold back during the first few miles, so you get used to the discipline of not going out too fast.

Racing Mistake #2: Wearing New Clothes or Shoes on Race Day

Some runners think that a new pair of running shorts will bring them good luck or give them an extra boost of confidence on race day. Although they might feel good when you try them on, a new pair of running shorts might ride on you or cause chafing once you start running. You don’t want to discover at mile 5 of a half-marathon that your new running socks are causing blisters or your new sports bra is not giving you the support that you need.
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The racing solution: “Nothing new on race day” should become a familiar phrase to any road racer. Race day is not the time to experiment with a new pair of running shoes, running shorts, or a new sports bra. It’s better to stick with your tried-and-true favorites that you know are comfortable. If you get a race T-shirt in your race goody bag before the race, you definitely don’t want to wear it during the race. Not only are there bad luck superstitions associated with wearing the race T-shirt, but it will also make you look like a rookie.
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