What to Do When You Are a Runner Who Can’t Run on Race Day

Welcome to the Running publication! Every Saturday morning, we electronic mail runners with information, recommendation and a few motivation that can assist you rise up and working. Sign up right here to get it in your inbox.

On Thursday, I drove to Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, picked up my race packet for the Phillies 5K, purchased a Phillies dinosaur bucket hat for my nephew and drove dwelling.

The race is at the moment, and I’m not working it.

I signed up for this 5K earlier than I used to be recognized with a stress fracture, and regardless that I’m now out of that dreaded strolling boot, I’m not near with the ability to run once more, and strolling the 5K would nonetheless be a stretch.

Here’s what you are able to do once you aren’t prepared for race day:


If you may’t run the race, you may ask how one can assist out, whether or not it’s manning a water station, handing out medals, handing out bibs, or directing visitors. Just just be sure you’re not doing one thing that may worsen your damage.


Of course you may cheer your coronary heart out for many who are working, particularly if it was a race you deliberate to do with mates. I’ll warn you, although, that this could sting slightly. I wasn’t even alleged to run the Adrenaline 5K in Haddonfield, N.J., final weekend, however watching it nonetheless made me lengthy to be in the midst of the pack.

Find a Distraction

I used to be alleged to run a 20-mile path race within the snow earlier this month. Instead, I spent the day studying a e book in my good heat mattress with my canine by my aspect. When I used to be too harm to run what ought to have been my first marathon, I went to the race web site anyway as a result of my resort room was nonrefundable, then frolicked on the seaside whereas runners raced alongside the boardwalk behind me. If you wish to be distracted from the truth that you’re not working, doing one thing good for your self that day would possibly assist.

Maintain the Long View

None of those actions are ever going to exchange working the race — particularly if you happen to had been coaching your coronary heart out for it. But hold the lengthy view in thoughts: If you wish to be a runner for all times, it isn’t value risking the well being of your knees, your ft, your hips or (in my case) your tibia and working via ache for this one occasion. There will probably be one other race forward — and also you’ll be wholesome for it.

Even although I knew I wouldn’t be working the Phillies 5K, one purpose I picked up my packet was that the entry payment included 4 Phillies tickets, and I wasn’t going to depart these behind. And the race shirt would possibly function base layer once I go to the Phillies’ dwelling opener on Thursday.

I do know some runners really feel that you simply don’t need to put on a race shirt if you happen to don’t run the race. I don’t purchase into that concept. Of all of the issues we may presumably discuss on the earth of runner’s etiquette, I really feel far more strongly about people who may intrude with different runners like taking part in your music in your smartphone audio system throughout a race, taking selfies on the racecourse or stopping to stroll in the midst of the road. Whether or not runners put on a race shirt impacts nobody however themselves.

What do you do on race day if you happen to can’t race? Let me know — I’m on Twitter @byjenamiller.

More Health and Fitness News From The Times

Why Lifting Weights Can Be So Potent for Aging Well

On Wintry Runs, Finding a Room of My Own

How to Find a Sports Bra That Fits

A User’s Manual for Your Knees

Knowing the Right Time to Say Goodbye to a Pet

Japan’s Olympic Chief to Step Down Amid Corruption Investigation

Run Well!

— Jen

Jen A. Miller is the writer of “Running: A Love Story.”

You may also like...