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5 Quick Tips to Running Your First Race

So you’ve signed up for your first race. Congratulations! While the feeling of excitement and the adrenaline rushing through your body is undeniably real, soon the real fun begins – training for the race itself. Now what? Have no fear. Your first race is an exciting opportunity to not only push yourself, but to shatter expectations about your fitness level, and learn what it takes to complete a race. Here are five quick tips on helping you prepare for your first race!

 

Tip #1: Put It On The Calendar

Schedule for success! This should be a no brainer, but for many people, having a real date booked on your calendar reminding you of your running commitment can almost be intimidating all on its own. You’ve paid for your race entry and now it can either become a looming date, or an exciting opportunity to burn some rubber. First race jitters – no worries! By putting the date on your calendar, it becomes an anchor to base your lifestyle around as you find time around your busy schedule to get in some training sessions.The race isn’t going to train for itself, so make sure you give yourself enough time to train and recover between workouts. By putting it on a calendar, the day is top of mind and you’ll be able to plan a set schedule to follow leading up to your first race!

 

Tip #2 Don’t Stress  

This is your first race with the best community in all of sports. There is nothing quite like the feeling of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of strangers cheering you on and providing positive vibes as you run with all your heart. Enjoy the vendors (they usually have free stuff to give out), meet some cool people, and plan to just take it all in – you only get to run your first race once, after all. While you might feel the need to go for the gold on your first race, and thus go all out on your training sessions, it is definitely okay to train to run at a slower pace than your normal speed. Remember that there will be other people training for the race with varying experience and fitness levels. Train at the pace you are comfortable with and have fun leading up to the big day! 

 

Tip #3 Know The Course  

Download the course map and have it on your phone. If possible, run, bike, or drive the course to familiarize yourself with the layout so you can get an idea on where to push yourself and when to conserve energy. Part of the fun of running is making a strategy on how to approach races. Once you familiarize yourself with the course, this will also help alleviate some anxiety about what to expect and how the event will be set up. 

 

Tip #4 Eat What You’re Used To  

A steady, nutritious, and consistent diet is always recommended no matter what race you are preparing for. Needless to say, a few days prior to race day is probably not the best time to try new cuisine and/or fueling strategies you’ve read about online. If you’re traveling to your race, research nearby places that you can eat at that fits your regular diet.  You don’t want butterflies of a different kind in your stomach an hour before or during the race. We’ve been there and it’s not a good feeling to have. 

 

Tip #5 Recover As Hard As You Train  

It might seem like a no-brainer, but many runners training for their first race neglect a crucial element in training – recovery. Getting a good night’s rest the night before your race is great, but it’s just as important during the weeks leading up to your race. On top of that, training is only the first half of the “Formula” to successful running (successful anything really). Putting in as much effort doing recovery after your workout can go a long way in keeping you healthy as you train, and getting the most out of any workout. So make sure to stretch after workouts, massage out tight knots in your muscles, ice sore areas, and get nutrients back in your body immediately after your training session.