Congratulations for biting the bullet and signing up for your first race 🙂 It’s both terribly exciting and maybe a bit scary because you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to do next.
Well, I hope you’ve been following a training plan – if not, I highly recommend finding one. You can pop on over here for a few quickie 5-week plans for the 5k and 10k distance, highly recommended if you’re joining me for the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women in Calgary on May 24. Another option is to look online for a plan. Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway plans are also excellent.
After you’re trained up, it’s time for race day, here are some tips to minimize the stress:
- Pick up your race package. Races will usually have package pick up the day or two before the event. Some races don’t do package pick up the day of, so make sure you know when and where you have to be.
- Pick your outfit. When picking your race day outfit, make sure you aren’t wearing anything new. You never know if something might rub or chafe you, so it’s best to try it out at least once on a training run of the same distance. A friend of mine once ran a half marathon in cotton socks and ended up with loonie sized blisters on his feet.
- Affix your bib. When attaching your bib you want to make sure it’s visible from the front. You’re not at a rodeo, so don’t pin that sucker on the back of your shirt, put it on the front. If the timing chip isn’t attached to the bib, you’ll also need to attach that to your shoe, usually with a zip tie.
- Know where you’re going. I’m not talking about the race route, but how to get to the race. Sometimes roads may be closed, or it may be in an unfamiliar area. Check that out beforehand because you don’t want to rush to the start line.
- Eat and do your business. I make sure I wake up in time to eat (eggo waffles for me) and have some coffee to get things moving along. If there’s one thing runners talk about on race morning, it’s poop. Why? Because we get stressed if we don’t have a pre-race poop. Coffee or tea, friends, it’ll help. 🙂
Once you’re at the event location, chill out, line up and go! Here are some tips to help with the running (ha! Puns) of the actual event:
- Line up according to time. Larger events will seed you in corrals based upon your expected finish time and/or your proven race time. Smaller events are usually self-seeded, meaning you pick where you line up. If you know you might be slower than the leaders, please don’t line up with them. That’s frustrating to the runners behind you who will need to dodge and weave their way through.
- Don’t take up the whole road. No matter where you line up, unless you’re super speedy and win the race, it’s probable that you’ll be passed. Be considerate of the runners behind you and don’t take up the whole pathway if you’re running with friends.
- Move to the side if you walk. Run/walking is awesome, and I encourage it; however, it can be tough for people behind you if you stop in the middle of the pathway. I like to move as far as I can to the right-hand side and put up my hand before I slow to give the people behind me a warning. When I ran SeaWheeze last year, 4 or 5 girls took up the entire pathway, and yes, I did holler at them because it’s rude and impacts the runners behind you.
- Pace yourself. The start of any race is exciting and you’ll have the adrenaline going. I have a tendency to go out too quick, so I have to consciously remind myself to slow down because I don’t want to have to walk the last part of the race because I started too quickly.
- HAVE FUN. Sure there are rules and etiquette to follow, but the most important part is to have fun while you’re out there!
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Anything I missed? Leave your best race day tips in the comments!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the Shoppers Drug Mart Run for Women. In exchange for writing it I’m receiving a complimentary entry to the race, but I have and would pay money to run the race because it’s awesome!
Linking up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena from Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced, Sarah from Creating Better Tomorrow, and Amber from Bold Fit Mom for Wild Workout Wednesday!
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