Mar 29

The Worst Racing Advice I Ever Received #RunIt

I used to take a lot of advice when I first started running and racing. I did the same with parenting and writing and I eventually realized that with enough experience and a ton of common sense, you figure out what works best for you and most advice is horrible and useless.

Today I’m joining forces with some women who have amazing racing advice. We know because we have taken all the horrible racing advice and learned from it. So, in the vein of “don’t make the same mistakes I did” I present to you the worst racing advice I ever received:


Full disclosure – this is advice I gave myself. This is probably the single worst thing you can do whether it’s in training or an actual race. Pain (real, throbbing swelling, hobbling PAIN, not discomfort) is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed before it gets worse.

Lesson: You want to run for years, not days. Have long-term thinking and you will run far for life.


I just recently realized this was horrible advice after listening to Stan Beecham’s book Elite Minds. It makes perfect sense to me now that if I set up an A, B and C goal then I’m just giving myself an out instead of focusing on exactly what I want to achieve. Beecham gives several examples of elites who set goals, and achieved them, but then wondered why they didn’t make it to the next level. Your mind is a very powerful tool and it will do whatever it’s told.

wrote all about it for Women’s Running since I’m a sharer and want to make the running world a better place:


Please remember that I am old and I ran my first 5k about 15 years ago when there was not a lot of scientific evidence to back up claims on pre-race fueling. In fact, it was more just word of mouth from the fastest runners to us towing the line in 12th place. Yes, I came in 12th in my first 5k. Anyway, someone along the way told me to have little or no caffeine prior to racing, even though I was (and am) a two cup of coffee a day girl. For some reason, I listened to this advice for a very long time and only in the past five years or so did I start consuming my regular coffee before a race.

I have not noticed a considerably difference but I definitely feel better when I have my morning cup of joe, regardless of racing. And, I used to get painful headaches after the race since it had been too long without getting my caffeine fix. I was also possibly dehydrated but that’s a whole other issue.

If you need more proof to indulge in a pre-race buzz:

5 Truths About Running And Caffeine | Runner’s World

Caffeine and Running – How Coffee Can Help You Run Faster |

Double motivation.

If that is not enough bad advice for you, there’s more! There’s also some really good advice thrown in, for all you optimists out there. Take what you will and leave the rest…











What would you add to my list?

What is the best advice (running or otherwise) you have received lately?


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  1. Lol…run through pain. Running is supposed to hurt! I’ve heard that one before. It’s funny that this so called “advice” still is being dished out. Does that actually work for some people?!?!
    Angela @ happy fit mama recently posted…The Best and Worst Racing Advice for RunnersMy Profile

    1. Masochists. Well, a lot of runners do enjoy pain so…but it’s one thing to have the “good” hurt and quite another to be in pain. I guess you have to experience it…like childbirth

  2. You know I’ve never been a coffee girl but tea before my race brings me the same sort of routine calm!! Plus it warms up my bones when it’s particularly cold outside 🙂 I love this months theme!! I’m just gonna be learning from everyone 🙂
    Nellie recently posted…6 Expert Running Bloggers Share The Best And WORST Race Advice EVER.My Profile

    1. Yes! Tea works too of course and I love this theme as well – I think we could easily do this again…

  3. Ugh any thing about pain gets to me (you know why). Also, carry your hydration (I HATE carrying hydration) and anything that tells me how much and how often I should eat during a race. I know myself well enough, thank you.
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Working with Coach Suz as My Virtual Running Coach (Coaches Corner)My Profile

    1. YES! I also hate hydration. Can’t we all just have support vehicles? Come on!!

  4. To me, it’s super interesting how far research with running and caffeine has come. It used to be”absolutely not” and now coffee is good for you and even more recently, the more the better. I love my coffee so I have no complaints.
    Hollie recently posted…Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe ReviewMy Profile

    1. Oh thank God you know what I’m talking about! It has come full circle – kind of like stretching!! I wonder what will be next…

  5. So are you saying to go on a caffeine holiday for a few weeks before using caffeine on race day? Or to not use caffeine at all?

    1. Oh no – you SHOULD use caffeine! Basically everyday as normal but I do know some people who take a break until race day…I am not one of those people.
      Glad you had some time to catch-up on my blog Miss you!!

      1. Ah, gotcha, I must have misunderstood. I don’t use caffeine on a daily basis. The only time I use it is on speed work days or long run days! Miss you too!

  6. yay i just did a happy dance as i read this, while drinking my cup of coffee 🙂
    after listening to tina muir’s runner connect podcast and her interview with the doctor guru, can’t remember his name but let’s call him Dr. Miracle, he said some things really REALLY hit home: strength train, explosive train, plyometrics. if you want to really be a solid runner incorporate those things. like, actually reduce volume in order to make sure to do those things 1-2 days per week. i know you say this and do it all the time, but i just needed a good solid reminder. i’ve started doing 3 minutes of core work every day, and even though that’s not much i have noticed a huge difference in how i feel. and how i run, can you believe that???
    some other things i hear are to stretch before – i will NEVER stretch before a run. i’ll do dynamic warmups or just jumping jacks but i’d rather run doing nothing than stretch cold muscles. or even run a warmup mile, then lightly stretch. seeing people stretch before working out baffles me but i’ve been there so oh well, live and learn.
    i still have a hard time eating before working out and have heard good evidence for both sides of the fence. i prefer to have an empty stomach or just coffee; my hubby prefers to eat full on breakfast or at least a bar before a workout. we are opposite lol.
    the carb loading thing is also kinda silly to me. people overdo it like eating for two when you’re pregnant. be reasonable!!! try an extra spoon of common sense in your coffee lol.
    Love ya March Queen!
    danielle recently posted…WIR sleep less play moreMy Profile

    1. LOL thanks Danielle! And yes, strength training is so key but it’s super boring to me #wah but I do see a difference when I do it.

  7. no caffeine on race day?? Yeah that is BAD advice! (I drink it a few hours before, but that’s just to, you know *ahem* make sure the system is ready to go when it’s time to run – otherwise portaloo stops may be required!)

    1. Um yep – I know exactly what you mean! Caffeine + race day nerves = port-o-potty

  8. I’m so glad someone has finally debunked the A, B, and C goals thing! It has NEVER worked for me, either. Like you say in your article – I already know what I want, and that’s what I trained for, so it’s pointless to set “back up” goals that I know in my heart I won’t actually feel as happy about. I want my A goal and not getting it is the risk I have to take as a runner – if I get it, great, if not, hopefully I’m still happy with myself for trying my best.

    I’m team coffee as well. Like you, I just don’t feel normal in the AM until I’ve had mine!
    Hanna @ minimal marathoner recently posted…Hiking in Zion: Day 2My Profile

    1. YES! I don’t know why I never thought about it in that way but I’m so glad you agree!

  9. SO TRUE about the A, B, and C goals! I’m careful with my wording because I don’t want to offend anyone, but I can just speak for myself and say that if I had three goals in my head, and especially if I put them out there for everyone to know, then even subconsciously I’d end up falling back into my B and C goals WAY easier than if I hadn’t even made them!!! I’m trying to think of another example of bad advice but I can’t really think of any. These were good ones!
    Suzy recently posted…Pregnant and Running: 17 Week UpdateMy Profile

    1. Right? I have actually done that in my head during a race but, that’s when I know I didn’t want it badly enough…which is an entirely different article
      Thanks mama!!! Love seeing your pregnant belly on the daily. < -- hope that's not too weird

  10. I definitely do the A, B, and C goals thing. I can certainly understand your point and why it can be counterproductive, but I feel like setting multiple goals gives me the courage to go out there and try hard in the first place. It’s really hard for me to push myself with running, and if the only possibilities are “get your goal and SUCCEED” or “don’t make it and FAIL” then I’m not very likely to try in the first place. It’s weird, because running is the only thing I’m really that way about. I like knowing that I can still feel proud of an accomplishment on race day even if things didn’t turn out the way I planned.
    Danielle @ The T-Rex Runner recently posted…“Well, sh*t.” – Spartanburg Half Marathon Race ReportMy Profile

    1. I totally understand what you’re saying but I think I have those B and C goals anyway so I ONLY focus on the A goal while I’m training. I know you have done a lot of mental strength training (and it’s paying off HUGE!) so you know what I’m saying. And I 100% think any race you cross the finish line of is a WIN…because, Cuba.

  11. I think most runners have to learn the hard way about the running through pain. At first it’s hard to tell the difference between normal aches/pains and actual injury!

    I’ve wondered about experimenting with caffeine. I am not a coffee drinker but am curious if I’d like having that little pick me up before a race…. just need to practice in training a few times first!
    Laura recently posted…What’s next + How to Train for a 10k prMy Profile

    1. You’re so right about having the experience to decipher between pain – it takes some practice unfortunately.

      And, I think you’re doing just fine without the caffeine.

  12. Oh man, run through the pain. I think that most of us have been through that? Definitely not my finest hour! And I never thought about having A, B, and C goals like that but it makes so much sense! I would totally stick with my C goal in the moment to forego the pain of pushing to achieve my A goal. So glad that you all are doing this round-up this month!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Kicking the limits wide openMy Profile

    1. Yep – we have all been there. No shame in that game…if you learn from it.
      And I love the theme this month! I could write about this for days…

  13. I raced my first half marathon without coffee beforehand – even though I’m a 1-2 cups per day girl myself. That was hard! Even though the race went well, I quickly realized that I race a LOT better with coffee in me. I’ve read a lot of research that it actually lowers rate of perceived exertion and it (ahem) helps with other things.
    Your article on Women’s Running is FANTASTIC – great advice!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Best Racing Advice {Run It}My Profile

    1. Yes it does…a very important “other thing” I might add.
      Thanks so much Laura! That means a lot.

  14. HAHA! I think we all definitely have to take what works for us and just leave the rest. Maybe there’s just a learning curve since we are all unique and what works for one doesn’t work for all? I am not sure about coffee before runs. I also must have it on normal days, but freaks me out pre race (read: what if I poop my pants?)

    1. You absolutely have to do what works for you. And I hear you on the coffee but luckily it has never been an issue for me during a race…yet!

  15. 1.) Stretch before you run. That was an old high school thing. Now I use the first few miles to warm up.
    2.) Go minimal because it’s the way we were “Born to run”.
    3.) Carboload <—full disclosure, I always eat a high carb diet, so I don't need to add extra carbs in the days before the race. And I hate using the word carb to describe food.
    Ellie Pell recently posted…Syracuse Half Marathon 2017My Profile

    1. Yes to all of those…I mean no…you know what I mean!! The minimal thing kills me because people are STILL doing it. *sigh*

  16. You’ll love mine… Don’t drink. That’s total BS. I drank a bottle of champagne the night before my fastest 5K ever! 20 mins something. BOOM! I’d have puked if it was any longer though. 😉
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Eating My Way Through Paris, FranceMy Profile

    1. I used to not even have a glass of wine the night before a race but now? If I feel like it, I do. I’ve learned that in the grand scheme of things, it does not matter and, sometimes it helps to calm my nerves.
      Nice work on the 5k!!!

  17. “Have a bacon cheeseburger 30 minutes before a 5K.” Okay, I never got that advice, which is a good thing. If someone had suggested it, I’d have done it.

  18. I absolutely loved everything in Elite Minds! Such a good read. And let somebody try to tell me to not have my coffee pre-race…I’ll knock em out. I’m a bit bull headed so I tend to ignore advice anyway. Lol I do read a lot though…I absorb info and test a few things out myself. Happy weekend!
    Jess recently posted…#MarathonMonday {WK 11} Race Week- Track Me in Raleigh this Sunday!My Profile

    1. I’m now listening to it for a second time just to filly absorb it all
      Hope you had a great (and caffeinated) weekend…

  19. I love your advice about not setting 3 goals. I always wondered why people set A, B and C goals. I mean I understand, but its true that your mind is going to do what you tell it to do! Get your ass in gear and go for your ultimate goal.
    Also, YES to don’t run in (real) pain!!! Just. No.

    Natalie recently posted…Encinitas Half Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

    1. I did it for so long but it’s really unnecessary. I know you totally get it and have one BIG, amazing goal for Boston! Crush it mama!!!

  1. […] Checkout Allie’s post:  […]

  2. […] Allie wants you to learn from her mistakes and be a racing DO, not a running DON’T: […]

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