What We Waste Time On During A Race

what we waste time on during a race

We train. We sweat. We follow a diet. We stretch. We exercise. We do all of these things to give our 100% during a race in order to fulfill our dreams and get a new personal best, but later… we fail. Check why.

Toilet before the start

Mandatory point! Just look at the beginning of every long race, at least a half marathon. Between 2nd and 5th kilometer we see queues of runners waiting to pee. It’s not that bad if we want to pee only. 40 seconds is enough. But in the case of something heavier we face a serious problem. If you are a woman and you can’t stand under a tree two steps from the road you are in bigger troubles. You need some privacy. You need a toilet or at least high and thick bushes. You lose much more than 1 minute of time.

Time wasted: 40 seconds or more

Untied shoelace

We should tie shoelaces before a warm-up. It’s better to dedicate even 1 minute to tie them really well before we start running. Do a double loop. Put the hanging shoelaces under other shoelaces going through the shoe. If we don’t do it well they will get untied any time.

Time wasted: 10 seconds or more

Optimal route

Every race is measured through an “optimal line”. If you don’t follow the line (and it’s hard to do so because it’s not drawn on the road) you add extra meters to your distance. It’s good to take curves close to a pavement. Do not change sides too often and without a reason. It seems it’s less important, but it may add 100-200m in a long distance race.

Time wasted: If you run 5 min/km you lose 1min after adding extra 200m.

Water stations

We all need to fuel. There is no doubt about it, but it’s important how we do it. If you stop at a water station to drink you automatically lose some seconds. If you walk while drinking you lose a little less. If you learn to drink while running without decreasing your speed you’re on the right way. You don’t waste time and you make your body stronger by fueling.

Time wasted: Let’s say we drink every 5km. It takes us 15sec. It comes to 1min in a half-marathon and 2min in a marathon.

Lack of focus

It may seem unbelievable that we have to be in focus throughout the whole race. It’s very difficult mentally and physically. However, we must keep the same tempo unless there is a clear reason for slowing down such as up-hill distance or strong wind.

Time wasted: If you lose focus and get just 5 seconds slower after every 5km you get over 1min waste in 21.1km.

Place at the starting line

Taking a wrong place at the starting line may give us troubles. If we stand too far and have many slow runners in front, we may try to overtake them as soon as possible. This may require running in zigzag. Automatically, we add additional meters to our final distance. Try to stand in the right group, but do not block runners faster than you. They don’t want to waste time even more than you do!

Time wasted: Even 1 minute.

Fast beginning

Here you may lose a lot. You must watch your tempo from the first meters. It’s even better to start a little slower than too fast, otherwise, you may not find enough energy at the end of the race. Last kilometers are always difficult. Save your energy to make them as comfortable as possible.

Time wasted: anything from 5 min to 30min depending on how crazy you got at the beginning.


Small details destroy all our effort. Don’t let it happen. Use the toilet even twice before the race. Make sure you tie your shoes well. Find the best ways of tying shoes during training. Stand in the right place at the starting line. Avoid zigzag running. Don’t slow down at water stations. Better to fuel more often but with a little quantity than rarely but drinking a lot. Watch your tempo. If you follow these rules and train well you will excel.

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