Organic Runner Mom

What can go wrong during a marathon.

What can go wrong during a marathon.
What can go wrong during a marathon.

Running a marathon is no joke. 26.2 miles is a long way to run.

Running 26.2 miles puts both physical and mental demands on you and your body,

There are many things that can go right during a marathon but also many things that can go wrong that you will want to prepare for.

  • Chafing. Chafing can start early in the miles if you have not chosen the proper attire. All runners will tell you to make sure that you test out your race day outfit on a long run before you actually run the marathon. This will mostly ensure that you find clothes that don’t rub and chafe as you run (although minor chafing can still happen). Be aware of tags and seams that can bother. Use Body Glide or another anti-chafe product to lube up those places that are bound to chafe-under arms, inner thighs, under your sports bra band. Marathon aid stations will often have vaseline that you can use should you run into the nightmare of chafing. There is nothing worse than stepping in the shower post race when you have fresh chafing!
  • Toenail Troubles. This is sometimes an unforseen problem as a seam of a sock rubbing against a toe can cause issues with your toenails as you run. Toenail troubles can also crop up if your shoes are too small. Many runners would recommend sizing up a half size for race day as during a marathon your feet can swell a little bit causing rubbing of your toes. Sometimes this problem is unavoidable and you may find that you lose a toenail post race. This fall I raced a half marathon with shoes where the toe-box was too narrow resulting in a sad lost toenail.
  • Poor Fueling. Fueling during a marathon is a very personal thing. There are so many different options out there for fueling nowadays-gels, chews, sport beans. It can be hard to navigate the different choices. The best way to do so is through trial and error during training. Find fuel that will digest well, that has a flavor you like and that contains the right amount of nutrition to give you the boos that you need as you run. You also need to practice the timing of taking in your running fuel so that you don’t bonk.
  • Dehydration. Hydrating adequately during a marathon can all depend on the temperature and how fast you are running. The faster you run the more sweat you will lose, and the same goes for the temperature, the hotter it is the more you will sweat. When you sweat you will lose valuable electrolytes. During a marathon you need to make sure that you take in the right amount of water and electrolytes. If you know ahead of time what electrolyte drink will be used on course you can practice with it during training. If it is going to be exceptionally hot on race day some runners will even carry salt tabs which can help curb dehydration. During the Vermont City Marathon one year I got so dehydrated that I could not run in a straight line. I did not heed my body’s request for water and electrolytes which had disastrous consequences.
  • Hypothermia. This problem is a little more extreme but can happen without warning. As race day approaches it is important to watch the weather and to adjust your race day apparel accordingly. Wearing too few layers coupled with sweating in the cold and wind or if it is raining can bring on hypothermia as you exert your body. Runner’s World has a tool that can help you to determine what to wear depending on weather and conditions.

What can go wrong during a marathon and tips to help #marathon #runchat #running

Running a marathon is a challenge and so adequate preparation is key. You will need to prepare your mind, your body, your gear, your fueling and your hydration. Hopefully these tips will help you as you prepare to take on this challenge!

What is the worst thing that has happened to you during a marathon? How did you handle it?

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9 responses

9 responses

  1. Toenails are always my problem area during training and during/after races. This is a great list of things to pay attention to for any big race!

  2. The worst thing that happened to me was at Grandma’s 2015. My training was botched due to time commitments and whatnot. My long runs weren’t consistent, so I didn’t have much opportunity to get my fuel down…so, I took a (bad) chance and used fruit snacks on race day. After 15 miles, my tummy had had too much sugar, and adding Gatorade to the mix was a disaster. I had to stop at the porta-potties for the next six miles to “fix” the icky tummy problem LOL

  3. My worst marathon was Chicago 2017. I had breathing and stomach issues which required multiple medical tent stops and having to walk half the race. It was brutal, but I’ve done two more marathons after that.

  4. My worst marathon was my first. I fell apart, mentally, at mile 8 and it was downhill from there. I called my husband at mile 18, crying, to pick me up. LOL. Thankfully he didn’t!
    Wendy recently posted…Coffee TalkMy Profile

  5. I haven’t run a marathon, but my worst half my hydration pack was sliding all over and my stomach didn’t like the electrolyte drink they were handing out. I was miserable!

  6. Mine was blisters. I was fine during training but I developed blisters under my right foot after 10 miles which became increasingly painful. I think they developed because it was about 10 degrees warmer on the day than on any of my training runs.
    Chris Tiley recently posted…Exercises for Knee PainMy Profile

  7. I’ve never run a marathon, but I recently climbed Half Dome, which was about 16-ish miles(?) and was most likely nottttt hydrating well enough. I definitely need to work on drinking enough (and probably fueling more!) next time!

  8. OMG! Everything can go wrong LOL!

    So I have only run one marathon in my life. It was at Disney, so I had to be there at like 3:00AM or something ridiculous like that. I got almost no sleep the night before. The weather was all over the place: hot, then cold, then humid, then rain, etc.
    And about 30 minutes before I had to get in my corral, my monthly friend hit out of nowhere. My poor husband had to run around to all the aid tents to find me tampons. It was a disaster.
    Jenn recently posted…the return of the cupcake run!My Profile

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