Bring a backpack stuffed with towels, a change of clothes, your phone, and cash (most events have lockers where you can stash your stuff pre-race). You want to be as unencumbered as possible, but it’s wise to run with some water and fuel in the form of energy gels on longer races, says Vennare. Most important: Put a laminated piece of paper in your shoe or pocket that lists your name, insurance info, and an emergency contact number. Or invest in an engraved-steel shoe or wrist ID card from Road ID ($20, roadid.com).On-Course Rx:So you suffer a mid-race setback. Here’s how to regroup and forge ahead (or know to call it quits), with tips from Jordan Metzl, M.D., author of The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies.
You fall off a wall obstacle and get the wind knocked out of you. Feel along your rib cage. If one area is really, really tender and sore, you might have broken a rib and need to walk away. If you’re more stunned than sore, take a moment to catch your breath. Once you’re breathing comfortably, get up and continue on.
You accidentally swallow mud or get it in your ears, eyes, or nose. Chances are, you’re fine. Step aside for a moment and wash away the mud with clean water. (If you’re not carrying any, seek out the nearest staff tent and ask for fresh H2O.)
You can’t feel your hands and feet after swimming through the ice tank. It’s unlikely you developed hypothermia in such a short time. It’s more likely to be anxiety: When you start to panic, your body’s circulation slows, cutting off blood flow to your extremities. Keep moving slowly and breathing deeply to get your blood pumping again. If nothing helps, call it a day and find a quiet place to lie down.
You’re on mile five when you get leg cramps. Now would be a good time for those snacks you packed-low sodium can cause muscle cramping. Or, stop running and start stretching (lunges, calf raises). Better yet, ask your race buddy to massage your leg. Then get going.