You’ve done all the planning, training, and prepared for the race ahead; but during mile 10, you’re experiencing chafing. Chafing is a common problem in marathons and triathlons, but no one told you to prepare for it. Well, today you are in luck, here are some common problems no one tells you before entering the sport, and how to treat them.
Your race number is how the organizers identify who you are while you are speeding away on your bike. What people don’t tell you is that during the cycling portion, your race number will be the most annoying piece of paper you’ve ever encountered. It will flap up and flap down and react to every little gust of wind. To fix it, crumple up your race number and flatten it before the race. The crinkles in the paper will help it stay put and you will not be bothered with it during the race.
It’s going to happen, water will enter your ear. It’s okay though, because during training you’ve figured this out. Make sure on the day of your race to wear wax or silicone earplugs to help prevent this common annoyance. If you don’t like the feeling of ear plugs in your ear, try an over the counter ear drop designed to help swimmers ear, and remember ear wax is your friend, not foe, so don’t clean your ears with cotton swabs.
Know the Course
If you have access to where the race is going to be held, use it. Train on the course, so come race day you’ll remember the pothole to avoid, or that there is a blind curve at the end of the running portion. Knowing the course will also benefit you mentally. Since you’ve already trained on it, you will know what to expect, so on race day you won’t run into a mental wall thinking that the end is just around the corner.
Painful Blisters and Chafing
Everyone has had a blister in life, and everyone knows the pain of one. Do not be fooled, it will happen on race day if you are not prepared. The easiest and simplest solution is to wear moisture wicking garments. Not only do moisture wicking garments prevent blisters but they also prevent chafing. Clothes are not the only solution though; consider buying a skin lubricant and applying it on your feet and thighs before the race. These products are easily accessible and affordable. Worst-case scenario, wear some Band-Aids. All these solutions work well for preventing chaffing as well. If you find yourself in a rough spot and chafing has already become a problem, the first thing to do after the race is to treat it. Clean the affected area with warm water and soap.
Make sure that you let the affected area recover before training with the affected area and make sure that it gets plenty of air, so it can heal.
Common Race Injuries
The big two injuries on race day are heat stroke and hyponatremia. Heat stroke is when your body overheats, so if you start feeling dizzy and overheated during a race, slow down and find a medical tent. If you are experiencing a heat stroke you need to cool your body down fast and hydrate yourself. Hyponatremia is when your body has too much water and is too low on sodium. Sodium is an electrolyte and helps regulate the amount of water in and around your cells. Hyponatremia can happen if you drink more water than your body needs. The cells in your body begin to swell because the sodium in your body has become diluted. If you are nauseous, confused, feel weak, and your body is swollen find a medical tent. To prevent this condition try not to over hydrate yourself and make sure that when you hydrate to take small sips.
After the Race
Get out of your gear. Staying in your workout clothes after a race is a dream come true for bacteria, not so much for you. Changing into clean, dry clothes after the race will prevent sores from forming, chafing issues, and can prevent you from getting sick. Besides, you want to be comfortable on your way home from the race; so changing out of icky, sweat drenched clothes for fresh, dry clothes will improve your mood.
Remember that trying anything new is difficult and comes with some surprises. If you have a friend who is experienced in triathlons ask for their advice, or find a local triathlon group who can help you step by step. Hopefully, these common problems will not plague you on race day, because you are prepared for them.
As Always, Happy Racing!