If you’re training for your first half or full marathon you might have heard horror stories about what happens on race day when it all goes wrong. Well, we’ve put together some of the most common mistakes that runners make so you can avoid them and have a great experience.    


Mistakes happen and not everything will go perfectly to the script. It’s important to consider what you would do if you dropped your fuel or if due to anxiousness, you were feeling more gastrointestinal distress on the day of the event. Be flexible and adapt, practicing your fuelling in the run up know what fuelling options there will be on the course in advance of the event and even try these beforehand where possible. If you feel like you are developing gastrointestinal symptoms, a slightly lower intake of fuel might help rather than forcing it down. As for that dropped gel, tips from the elites are to always have a reserve gel, carrying a couple of extra grams that you don’t end up using is worth it rather than missing your fuel! 


This one is overarching; you want to try and minimise any unwanted panic or anxiety. If you set off too fast or lose the pacer that you were hoping to stick with, that’s ok! Reassess your goals and don’t forget that a marathon is a long way you can make up a lot of time in the latter stages of a marathon if you keep a cool head.  


By now you should have practiced your pacing and fuelling strategy, don’t guess when it comes to race day that you can go quicker or that you won’t need those extra gels. The proof is in the weeks of training you’ve just conquered, you would rather leave the race feeling like you can tackle another one than be left with an unpleasant experience over the course of 26.2 miles!  


The start of a marathon can be a stressful time, get to your starting point well in advance so you can properly warm up and enjoy the race atmosphere. You’ve trained hard to get to the start line so be there in time to enjoy the full experience.   


Finally, another common mistake you should avoid is trying something new on race day. As in our first point. This may not always be possible (e.g. dropping your fuel you planned to use) but if you can, avoid trying something new in the days preceding and during the race. Try to consume nutrition you are familiar with that you know you tolerate well and can perform with. Check ahead of time the nutrition which will be provide on course, so you are able to understand if it is nutrition that is new to you. 

The same goes for your running kit and trainers, stick to what you know, you can always switch it up for the next race!  

These mistakes have been learnt the hard way, so hopefully now you know what they are you can avoid them. To explore our full range of marathon essentials from energy gels or chews to hydration drinks and recovery essentials then click here

Written By


Supplying world-class knowledge, elite insights, and product recommendations to provide optimal performance solutions for all athletes across a wide variety of endurance sports.

Back to blog