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Avoid the Common “Countdown” Mistakes — A Blog by Trainer Dan

Avoid the Common “Countdown” Mistakes

It’s one of the strangest things in all of sports, at least to me.

People spend literally MONTHS of their lives, religiously following their training programs – some even going to the extreme of following a whole new diet plan and giving up many of the “pleasures” in life – as they focus on this one huge goal: crossing the finish line.

Yet, almost like clockwork, as the countdown to race time begins (and it HAS begun for those participating in the Detroit Marathon), people start getting second thoughts…they start reading “things”…running buddies make these “suggestions” they’ve not heard of before…the training program, was it good enough?…I missed a run, should I go ahead and cram one more long run in even though my schedule says I shouldn’t? …There’s this new workout for runners guaranteed to drop race times by 5 minutes a mile (whatever)….

Listen, trust in your program – it’s been proven by countless other runners. Don’t go off and try to be creative or try something new (unless you’re willing to sacrifice the race to an experiment). Don’t try new stretches, new workouts, new warm-ups, or even a new approach to the race that you haven’t attempted in training and know it works for you.

Yup. The weirdest, strangest thing… months of trusting in this training schedule and up until the gun sounds, people are still trying to figure out a new way to do SOMETHING to totally mess up all their hard work. Relax. Trust. And just run. : )

Listen, my friends, if you haven’t done it in training up to now, don’t do it in the race. If you haven’t worn it in training by now, don’t wear it in the race…. If you haven’t eaten something regularly while training, don’t eat it the night before the race… If you haven’t tried using some brand of gel or energy drink in training, don’t use it in the race (bring your own)…if you ran your shoes into the ground training, saving a pair for the race – break them out RIGHT NOW and start training in them the rest of the way… same goes with socks, shorts, shirt, sports bra; whatever you think you might wear on your head; use as lubrication on your feet, arm pits, thighs, etc. If you haven’t tested them out, don’t “test” them in an endurance race.

Why? Because unless you’ve tested it, you simply don’t know how you’ll react to it. Does the new shirt rub funny under your left arm after two miles? Does the different gel give you the runs? When those new socks get soaked with sweat do they slide down? Do those new shorts rub your thighs into a raw, bleeding mess,? Will that unfamiliar seasoning at the Japanese steak house cause you to drink too much water and find you getting up all night long? Does that new lube cause you to break out in an itchy rash? If you haven’t tested it, you just don’t know.

But if you simply follow your training program, sticking to the things you know work for you, none of these questions will be yours. Instead, you’ll confidently step to the starting line knowing you’re prepared and ready to run YOUR race with no distractions. And all these other problems? Well, they’ll be some other poor soul’s worries! : )

Have an awesome run today!

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