Running – 10 Golden Rules for not DNFing a race – Ultra Marathon – Marathon
(or any race for that matter.)
We hate it when it happens, but it happens to the best of us sooner or later. After 18 years of running and racing varying distances from 5k to 100-miles, I’ve compiled a list of rules to limit the times I’ve ended a race early. These Golden Rules have helped me stay in the game.
10 Golden Rules for not DNFing.
10. Run to the next one. When the urge to drop out of a race hits, I hold myself accountable to make the next checkpoint, aid station, lap or timing mat. It’s as simple as doing “just one more”…and one more, and one more after that. When my son was little I tricked him into finishing his happy meal by eating just one more bite, and one more bite. It works in a long race gone bad as well.
(slice of pizza and a Slurpee saved the day)
9. Get something to eat. I will not drop from a race on an empty belly. When you run out of fuel things look a lot different. If the desire to quit is about to overcome your desire to finish keep running until you can fill up your tank. With a full fuel supply, you just may find out your motor may have a few more miles in you.
8. Realize no one died from a blister. They suck, are uncomfortable and just plain hurt, but you can run with a blister. Don’t give in to that little or big bubble of liquid.
7. We’re friends but. I can’t allow the misfortune of another compromise my finish. It’s hard to run a complete race with a friend. No matter the intentions a race unfolds differently for each person. Our running group understands, we all have to run our race. Finish your race and be friends later.
6. Brush your teeth. I have not tried this, but I believe it. This may apply more to longer races than a 5k. Experienced ultra running friends tell me they feel 100% better after they brush their teeth or wash their face. Fresh breath and a clean face might just give you the kick in the butt you need to bring home the bling.
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5. Beg for a pacer. Again more aimed for the longer races that allow the use of pacers, do not drop from a race without begging someone to run a loop, a lap, or a few miles with you. A little companionship at a low point in the race can save the day and propel you to a finish instead of a drop.
(I’ve had friends drag me around for a few laps)
4. Find another runner and be the caboose. If the race is falling away from you and the urge to give in is becoming overwhelming, seek out the security, and energy of a group of runners. I’ve found that I’m the weakest when I’m alone…if I feel the dreaded DNF may be catching up with me I focus on catching up with the group in front of me or link up with a group at an aid station. The energy of the pack can very well keep you in the game.
3. Run when you can, hike if you got to, walk if you must, and crawl if its all you got. I vow to continue moving forward at all cost. No matter how slow, forward motion will eventually get you to the finish line.
2. Do not feed the trolls. It’s easy to begin to develop your exit plan when beaten up, tired, and on the far side of the course. Do not feed the troll of self-doubt. Use positive words, use positive imagery, and embrace victory before you write your own eulogy.
Now all of these tips are based on the fact that you, your crew or a good friend has determined that you are NOT doing real damage to yourself by running and/or continuing to finish the race.
(My first buckle, Umstead 100 – 2014)
1. You Can Do It. I will never give up on me. Never give up on you.
Even with all these rules and good intentions…you might find yourself wearing the uncomfortable badge of not finishing a race and that’s okay. A DNF will not define you, it’s a snapshot in time, a single race that did not go as planned. Nothing more and nothing less.
You got yourself to the starting line….you are awesome!