Marathon mishaps... and how to mitigate

Last night, during a 2 hour run in the pouring rain, I suffered from 'runners nipple' for the first time.   Not a major surprise, maybe, but I'm glad I discovered the problem now, rather than on the day of my first marathon in 5 weeks. It would never have occurred to me to plan ahead for that!

This got me thinking.  What else MIGHT happen during the race?  And what plans should I make 'just in case'?   So, I must remember to vaseline up before I set off.

  • What about blisters?   Will St. John's Ambulance give me a plaster?
  • What about niggly injuries? Can you get a leg strapped up en route?
  • What equipment failures might happen?
  • What weather issues should I consider (for 28th Oct)? For example, I've never run in hat and gloves in my life...  but never run more than 10 miles before this summer's training. It can be very cold at 9am at that time of year.
  • Logistics... what can go wrong?
  • Anything else?

I've seen one or two checklists I found via google... but don't feel I've seen a really good one specific to this issue.  Help please... and it could be useful for others.  Cheers


  • Blisters - do you get those during your LSRs? SJA could help.

    Strapping - SJA could help.

    Equipment failures?  I guess your laces could snap, your shoes fall apart, ...

    Weather?  WTF!  Who knows - it's more than a month away.  It'll probably be cold and miserable.

    Logistics - you might be in car crash on your way to the start.  Someone ahead of you might be in a car crash on your way to the start.


    You're over-thinking this.  Just turn up, run, and take the medal at the end.

    • Blisters - SJA can give you plasters, but make sure you've tested your sock/shoe combo on a long run before race day.
    • Runner's nipple - Vaseline or BodyGlide is good.
    • Niggles -  again SJA can help, depends how bad it is and how much of a "will finish at all costs" mentaility you've got.
    • Equipment failures - not much really. Top, shorts, socks, shoes, race number. None of those are likely to let you down.
    • Weather - buy a cheap hat and pair of gloves that you can wear to start with if it's cold, but throw away on route as and when you heat up.
    • Other stuff - make sure you don't get lost while driving to the race, sounds silly but it happens, and people end up panicked and rushing.
    • Make sure you've got nutrition planned for the race - know what gels you'll be taking and how you'll carry them, and if/how you'll be carrying water.
    • But above all - Keep Calm and Good Luck!
  • Imodium instants.

  • Thanks Pethead.

    Intermanaut.  Can I suggest that it is you who is UNDER thinking things here. 

    I suggest you analyse yourself, and see if that's one of your common traits image

  • @Run Wales - I've run many events and have not pondered any of the things you're worrying about.  I use zinu oxide tape to prevent nipple chaff and that's it.  The two recent marathon I've run were Loch Ness (you start in the wilderness and finish in Inverness - no support apart from other runners for several miles at multiple stages along the route) and Eden Project, which is pretty much wilderness the whole way around.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I think Intermanaut is just trying to be supportive. You could analyse everything about the race day and preparation but the main thing is that you will learn how to handle the issues as they arise and it'll make you a stronger runner.

    One race a few years ago - everything that could go wrong - did go wrong (car crash on way to the start, lost bags, lost keys, lost water bottle). I couldnt have planned for all of that - so i just turned up, ran the race, forgot about everything else for a few hours and then with a post race glow - turned to face the challenge of getting home.

    You can be more resourceful than you think when you need to be image

  • @internet  -  OK fair enough... but why do you use ZnO tape? Presumably someone recommended it.  Or you had a previous bad experience. 

    It's just that if I hadn't done a long run in the rain yesterday, I'd never have bothered thinking about nipple soreness...  and could have come severely unstuck.   So I'm simply asking if there are other things like this that I should bring to the front of my brain. 

    Not 'over-analysing' - just being practical.  If there's nothing else to worry about, then great. 

  • I use ZnO tape because it stops my top rubbing causing not just soreness, but sheer post-run bloody (literally) agony.

    You should turn up just as you do for your LSRs, get into the groove, and run until you see a sign that says "Finish".

    Don't try anything new on race day, including hydration options.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I use zinc oxide tape (from Boots) during winter or especially cold weather and then leave the tape on until I shower and it comes off very easily under the water. It stops the chaff and also helps if your nipps are a bit sensitive.

  • Immodium instants- second vote! carry them, plus a few blister plasters with you.

    It will be fine- there is loads of help at hand, and you can bet that a well run race will have most potential things covered.

    I have had to stop en route for blister repairs in 1 race- first aid were brilliant - even running off to find drinks for me while they woked on my feet!

    If it's a big race- planning where you are going to meet up with people afterwards is important.

  • Get yourselt a small 'bum bag' style thingy (Nathan do some good ones) put in it:

    A blister plaster, Imodium instant and a couple of nurofen instant.

    Tape your nipples or wear a bra like me image

    Vaseline your feet well especially where you are likely to get pressure points.

    Vaseline or body glide anywhere you think might chafe, inner thighs, men's bits and bobs..bra line if you wear one.


    Other than that stop over thinking as you will always find something else to concern yourself what happens if the elastic in your shorts breaks?

  • Hi guys I'm also a first time marathon runner (Clarendon marathon 7th oct) I must admit to having the same worries as expressed here it's just a case of you put in all those hours of training over the last few months and you want everything to go as well as it can, but the thing that worries me is the old classic of I don't know what I don't know! For example I've started to struggle a bit at the end of my long runs and have started to look into gels (any advice or recommendations welcome) but my worry is - is it to late to start using them - the race is next weekend everybody says don't change your routine for race day! And that's what got me to this forum I've heard gels give you the trots - is it really worth packing some Imodium instants.....really? I prefer to run empty handed and hate bum bags etc and the small pocket in the shorts is already packed with iPod, keys, money possibly a gel pack or 2 etc etc... I'm going to look like I've got some strange growth on my arse!image

    But hey just give us first timers a few words about what you know now, that you wish you'd known when you did your first marathon.

  • Oh meant to say also had my first experience of runners nipple - also running in the rain the other day!

    OMG OUCH!!!! It's like someone's taken a power sander to them! Im bit of a gorilla (hairy chest) so tape is out! Do I just dump a blob of Vaseline on each one and hope for the best or are you supposed to rub it in the night before etc? I just don't think a bar is going to be a good look for me
  • I started this thread, to pick up practical tips aimed at providing insurance against mishaps (the zinc oxide tape is working well, thanks image).  But I realised I overlooked something - not a great subject, but important.

    A couple of people strongly recommended carrying Immodium Instants.  I sort of ignored this advice on the grounds that I haven't had an upset stomach for the last 20 or 30 years....  but I should ask...  Is that the reason for the recommendation?  Or do people use them to suppress a more general need to go for a No 2?    Is this something that nearly all runners do, or is it just for a few?

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    Hi Run wales - personally for me; i dont use immodium instants. I have breakfast but make sure that I go for a number 2 twice before leaving home and then i'm fine. I need to be "empty" and that's it.

    I've known some runners who have needed it but just see how you get on at 'test races' (e.g. half marathons) and then maybe work on your diet (e.g. avoid lots of fibre before the race).

  • i'd recommend bodyglide. i use it for the nipple area and the top of my thighs where they rub together (seems to cause really bad rash in cold weather, don't seem to get it in warm weather).

  • Here's another practical one... where do people put their race number? If it starts chucking it down, I'll want to slip on my rain-jacket.  But that would hide my race number if it's on my shirt.  So does this mean that I should start the race with the jacket on, if the forecast says it could be rainy/windy.  And if so, and I get hot, am I going to have to stop to take the take the number off the jacket and attach it to my my top?

    What do people do to address this sort of situation?

    If I do start in my rain jacket - I'll want to attach my number to it  - do I really have to stick safety pins through my new jacket?!  


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭

    I use a triathlon number belt when the weather looks changeable. as it`s an elastic belt you can take off layers / put them on whilst still running. You can also store some gels in the belt as well.

  • Thanks Millsy... I'll have a look for them.

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