Fall is here, and racing season is upon us! There are many big and small fall races this season and runners everywhere are gearing up for all different distances. Whether you race all the time or this is your first race, it’s important to be prepared! Most of all, you don’t want to make any racing mistakes if you can avoid it. So as a reminder, pay attention and try not to make these mistakes when running fall races!
8 Racing Mistakes to Avoid When Running Fall Races
1. Going out too fast in your fall race
Have you ever heard the saying “summer miles bring fall smiles” or something like that? Basically, training through the hot and humid summer weather can help you feel better when it cools off in the fall. So if you get nice cool weather on race day, you might want to run really fast! While the cooler weather may help you race faster, you don’t want to go out too fast.
In the beginning of a race you may be feeling really good, but if you haven’t trained at a certain pace it will be hard to hold that pace no matter how nice the weather is. So hold back early on, ease into your gaol pace, and finish strong over the last few miles.
2. Overdressing (or underdressing) for fall races
Dressing for fall races can be tricky! It may be cold in the morning so you might want to wear tights and a jacket. However, during the race the sun could come out and make it feel much warmer. On the other hand, you may get an overcast, windy day that feels cold throughout the race. Make sure to check the hourly forecast to see the weather at the start and the finish. Also look at the “feels like” temperature to account for humidity, wind, and cloud cover.
Wearing layers can be really helpful. Think about items you can either throw away during the race or carry with you somewhere. Arm sleeves work well because you can stuff them in a belt or even loop them through the back of your sports bra if you get warm during the race. Brooks makes some nice lightweight jackets that fold into backpacks so if you need to take it off during the run it’s easy to carry with you!
3. Wearing new clothes or shoes on race day
As you enter a new season, you may need to switch from wearing summer running clothes to warmer fall/winter running clothes. Make sure to test out the clothes you plan to run in. Same goes for shoes. Try to put about 50 miles on your shoes before racing in them. While you don’t want to wear shoes than are too worn out, you also don’t want to wear shoes right out of the box either.
Lately it seems like a new type of supershoe is coming out every other week. If you plan to try out something new like this, give yourself plenty of time to adjust. You will want to do some long runs or workouts in your shoes before wearing them for a fall race. Also consider the weather conditions. Sometimes rain (plus leaves on the ground) can leave streets a bit slippery, so make sure your shoes will hold up well in those conditions.
You may also like: How Many Weeks Does It Take to Train For a Marathon?
4. Forgetting body glide in the fall
Just because summer is over does not mean it’s time to put away the body glide. Some days are still warm and you may sweat quite a bit during your race. Rain can also lead to chafing. So put some body glide on any trouble spots or carry some with you on race day.
5. Skipping hydration in cooler fall weather
As the weather cools down you may not feel as thirsty, but it’s still important to stay hydrated. Come up with a plan to either carry water or stop at the water stations on the course. Make sure to check to see what kind of sports drink they will offer if you plan to use what is on the course for electrolytes.
6. Not following a taper plan
Most runners love this time of year as it gets cooler, and you may be tempted to run all the time. Make sure to stick to your taper plan and still reduce your mileage and intensity leading up to race day! I remember before one of my fall marathons about 9 years ago the weather was so amazing the week before my race that I was adding in extra runs and did my last long run WAY too fast. I was not feeling my best on race day and should have saved that extra energy for the race.
These other posts may be helpful:
How to Taper for a Marathon Correctly to Achieve Your Race Goals
How to Successfully Taper for a Half-Marathon
7. Getting to the start line too late
On a cold fall morning you may want to stay in your car or hotel room until the last possible moment. While it’s good to stay warm, you also want to give yourself time to warm up, use the bathroom if needed, and find where you will need to start the race. Using throwaway clothes and doing a good warm up can help you stay warm while waiting for the race to start.
8. Skipping the gear check at your fall race
If you like to pack light for races you may want to reconsider for fall races. When you stop running you may feel cold and want to change into something warm or at least throw on a sweatshirt. Many runners like to hang around after the finish to celebrate, and you don’t want to be miserable if you are too cold!
Fall races are so popular for good reason- they are a great time to run fast thanks to months of summer training. However, it’s easy to make some racing mistakes in this tricky weather. Be sure to avoid these fall racing mistakes to run your best this season!
What other tips do you have for fall races?
Have you ever made any of these fall racing mistakes?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, and Runs with Pugs to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.