How to Avoid 10 Race Day Misadventures


You might be tempted to skim through this with a smirk. Thinking to yourself, none of these race day catastrophes will apply to you, because you’re too good, too fast, and have learned every lesson there is to learn about racing and the prep necessary to get through it without incident. If that’s you, awesome. Please stop reading now. And, should you suffer through one of these in the future, we’ll be sure to share a tip from this list with you when we pass you on the race course…with a smile of course.

1. Let’s start with multisport athletes. The Wetsuit. It’s a sponge. Donning it race morning, after not wearing it for a year (because you do all your swimming in a pool at home) will be trouble. Soak it two days before, let it dry out, and get it on your bod for a quick swim before race day. Use your body glide wherever hotspots pop up.


Happy Wetsuit Wearing Women.

2. Diarrhea, and other G.I., malfunctions. Stay away from products with lots of magnesium (warning: this is going to be very difficult). One suggestion for diarrhea issues: Take 1 or 2 anti-diarrheal tablets pre-race. Keep one handy for later. And drink plenty during the race (these tablets cause dehydration) Hey, nobody said this was going to easy.

3. T.P.: Throw a few squares in your bento box or pockets. Sure, it’s a luxury. But if you’re droppin trow mid-race, in or out of a portopottie, it’s a nice mental boost knowing you can spare a square.

4. Toenails: We’re not talkin about a pedi here. Cut them the night before. Even if you think you don’t need to. File ‘em.

5. Chafage: The length and type (is there salt water involved?) of your event determines the degree of self-inflicted burns you will be forced to endure. Make sure you’re well-manicured wherever possible, and use your favorite glide, balm or other goop in every spot that rubs…. And by rub, we mean skin-on-skin (upper arm and thighs) and apparel-on-skin (neck, chest, etc)

6. Passing: On the run or on your bike, we in the U.S. pass on the left. Which means, if you’re NOT passing, scoot over. The last thing you need is angry athletes ruining your first 50 mile bike ride for MS by shouting “Move over!”. (Yes, we’ve heard it on the run and on the bike)

7. Ego Check: Leave it at the race packet pick up table. Race morning, line yourself up according to the time you’ve ACTUALLY run (or swam) in your most recent tempo practice runs. Lining up at the front, or even a few rows from the front, is inviting not only injury to your over-confident ego, but a potentially very real injury by an angry mob. Find your corral and go smack-talk with some new friends there.

8. Two nights before event: You should be avoiding salads, veggies or any fruit for at least 3 days. Period.

8a. And make sure your bag, or apparel of choice, is all prepped. It may seem elementary and a blow to your super-smart-self to have to do it like your mom did when you were 5, but would you WILL forget something you absolutely need the next morning if you don’t line up everything you need prior to the race.

9. We have 2 more things, but we got a little carried away in this post. So rather than go on for another 200 words, and have poor Heather get comments about guest bloggers who go on and on and on and on…. We’re stopping.

Hopefully, we’ll come back again soon to entertain you in future posts.

Tanya Maslach, Founder of GOTRIbal, the only place dedicated exclusively to connecting women with other women who share their active, adventurous lifestyle journeys in endurance sports.

QOTD: Can you think of something not listed here that would be a good fit for this post?

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  1. Did not know about the salad / veggie thing! Thanks

  2. My longest race was a half, and I can only comment on a running race (not a tri), but I’m not sure on the veggies, salads, and fruits thing. I’m a vegetarian, and it’s really hard for me to avoid. Basically that limits me to eating grains and dairy, and I can only eat so many heavier carbs before I start to feel really, really, icky. I can understand not eating an abundance of these foods, as they contain a lot of fiber and might contribute to the digestive issues. Personally- I just do what’s best with my body with food, and I know I run and feel my best when I DO eat these things. I would suggest not eating anything new for about 2 days before the race, though.

  3. Great post! And loved your comment about checking your ego…seeing all those awesome athletes at the start can definitely be a sobering moment!

  4. Ha, the wetsuit thing is so true. I always feel like I’m stuffing sausage into a casing when I put mine on. I’m sure it looks very graceful (not).

  5. I don’t know about other people – but I’ve found an orange + banana is about perfect pre-race… I’ve had less digestive issues I think. But this is has only been tested in smaller distance races so far… 🙂

  6. Absolutely! Ladies – good points about eating what’s good for YOU and your body. You know it best! And never eat something new a week (yes, at least a week) before your race. Otherwise, you can be prepared for some surprises you’d probably rather NOT experience! 😉

    Onward and upward, always,

  7. On your left!!!! haha Nice list 🙂

  8. Thanks for the advice! I just started running, and I am training for a half-marathon. Will all these runner digestive issues be a problem during a half? Thanks!