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Angela Bekkala: What not to do on Race Day

Don't commit any of these race-day mistakes, writes Angela Bekkala.

It’s race week! You are excited, nervous and ready. With so much extra rest built up from the taper, you are a bundle of energy with a full tank of gas and fresh legs.

LET’S RUN!

But wait!

Before you go out there, put your competitive heart on the line, and do what you think is best in the moment. Make sure you are completely ready with these five things NOT to do on race day.

— Don’t wear the event shirt. It totally screams NEWBIE runner. During your training, you should have found the perfect race-day outfit. The one that won’t chafe, ride up or make you feel uncomfortable no matter the distance you are covering that day or the conditions you face.

— Don’t Impulsively decide to follow the runner ahead of you at the start just because he or she looks fast. Be patient in the beginning, relax through the middle miles and have fun in the final miles. Trust that your training will get you through the miles. Run your own race.

— Don’t line up at the front of the pack and take selfies for the first mile. Some people actually are racing. Save the selfies for later or start farther back in the pack if you are running for fun.

— Don’t try ANYTHING new. Stick to what you know or suffer the very unpleasant consequences. That goes for your dinner the night before the race as well as pre-race and during fuel. And don’t wear new clothing or shoes you bought at the expo.

— Don’t give up when you are tired. You trained hard for this race. When things get tough, don’t throw in the towel. You owe it to yourself to finish the race even if it doesn’t go how you envisioned. Give it your all, no matter what that is.

For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit 26Strong.com.