The Running For Answers 5K is coming up on Sunday, October 21st and I know many of you will be running your first race. To make your experience more memorable, I strongly recommend joining a team. There's nothing like the feeling of being part of a team and you may even meet some potential running buddies to help you stay motivated in the winter ahead. And, ahem, my team would love a few more teammates – just choose “Lululemon Run Club” as your team when you sign up. Contact me for a $5 discount code. Here are 5 more tips for a successful first race!
Practice “Race Day” beforehand.
Once you know what time the race starts, you can simulate race day a week or two in advance. Say the race starts at 8:45am. You'll want to think about your “to-do” list leading up to that point. How early will you wake up? What will you eat? What will you wear? Go for a hard training run at 8:45am and make sure your body is used to running at that hour. It's amazing how different our bodies can respond if we push ourselves at a totally different hour than we're used to. Sometimes that's not such a good thing! Speaking of which...
Eat an Easily Digestible Breakfast
Personally I eat 2-3 hours before a race and stick to soft or liquid foods. After starting with 16+ oz of water, I may have a banana with almond butter or a frozen fruit w/protein smoothie. This is absolutely something you need to practice before race day. What foods make you feel great during your run? What foods allow your digestive system to be happy and not 'affect' your run?
Arrive at the Race 30-45 Minutes Before the Starting Gun
Nothing worse than frantically scrambling to get organized before a race. Arrive early, get your race packet, pin your bib number on, choose the best clothes for the weather conditions, use the port-o-potty, go for a warm-up jog. I would much prefer to feel relaxed and have 'too much time' than barely make the start.
Pace Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Time and time again it happens. The positive energy and anticipation leads 90% of the runners to sprint at the start of the race. Dude, its 3.1 miles. Chill and sprint past everyone in the last mile, not the first. It should feel EASY for the first mile, moderate in the second, and hard in the final mile. Or close to that. Deliberately hold back, then thank me later. But not before you...
Thank the Volunteers
It's amazing, but simply thanking a few volunteers for their help goes a long way. They gave up their weekend morning so you can run around in short shorts and colorful shirts, so it's the least you can do. Seriously, though it is a positive thing to do, they'll appreciate it, and the positive vibe helps you run better. Promise!
So let's hear it - what tips do you have for someone running their first race? Comment below, please!