Runners are planners. Yet too often, the unexpected happens mid-race. Here's how to prevent or quickly recover from the six most common race-day disasters.
(Follow this Perfect Race-Day Routine to boost your chances for a smooth race.)
Late for the Start
Prevent it: Plan for extra traffic and leave extra early.
Deal With It: Run to the starting line and keep moving on the line by jumping, stretching and jogging in place. Start out slower, and, if possible, use the first mile to warm up.
Prevent It: Pack every combo of running clothes.
Deal With It: If you feel numb or dizzy, stop and search out a volunteer for help. Hypothermia is not uncommon in races where it begins raining or the temperature drops dramatically.
More: Basic Running Gear
Prevent It: Wear synthetic socks to reduce friction and moisture. Slather vulnerable spots with Vaseline and apply Band-Aids. (More: Beware these 5 Common Symptoms of Foot Injury, too.)
Deal With It: Slip a gel wrapper over the blister between your sock and your shoe to reduce irritation.
Shoe Came Off
Prevent It: Double-knot and tuck shoelaces under the tongue laces. (Looking to break in a new pair of running shoes? Check out our Fall 2012 Running Shoe Guide to find the best option for you.)
Deal With It: If your shoe comes untied, stop, get out of traffic, and fix it. The time you lose will be made up by being able to run correctly (without risking a face-plant).
Crash and Fall
Prevent It: Run a straight, clear path off to the side to avoid the crowd. On steep downhills, shorten your stride and focus on taking quick, light steps.
Deal With It: Try to land on your side and get up as fast as possible to avoid getting stepped on.
Prevent It: Test duds on training runs. Apply Vaseline or lube to areas where seams lie.
Deal With It: Sweat residue causes friction, so rinse the area with water or saliva. If a seam rips, mend it with a safety pin from your bib.race.