One of the best things about learning to run is to join up with may other runners in a road race. You get to meet new people, learn new things, and see how well you are doing compared to others in your category of age and ability. Right now there are races being held all over, and I am sure there are several races begin held in your community. Today we are going to cover a few things that will help you run your first race.
- Decide What Race to Run – The first thing you will need to do is decide what race you will want to run in. There are plenty of options out there from charity runs to fun runs and races. But, make sure you select a distance that you can handle. You can run in races close to home, and it is also sometimes fun to travel to other places to run. Either way has its advantages, but you may want to stay close to home for your absolute first race.
- What Distance Race Is Best? If you are a beginner runner, and have just started out, or are still following the beginner runner schedules on this site, then a 5K run (3.1 miles) is likely the best for you. If you have been running a little bit longer, and feel that you can move up to a 10K or more run, then go for it. Just make sure that you build up to it gradually and are ready on race day.
- Sign Up – Once you have decided how far you want to run, and where you want to go, then go ahead and register early for the race. Usually most races have a early registration price. But in addition, it just helps you to have the date nailed down so that you can plan for it and train for the race as well. In addition, they normally mail you the race-day packet, and having that will save you time and stress on race day. You can enjoy meeting new people, and getting prepped for the race instead of standing in line for your race packet.
- Train for the Race – Once you have registered for a race that fits you, then you are ready to do some training to prepare. Try to allow some time to build up your fitness before the race. You do not want to overdo it on race day because you did not properly prepare and train. If you have built up a good running base by following one of the beginner running schedules here, then you should be fine for a 5K run. You may decide, however that you want to more than finish the race, and actually meet a speed goal. If that is so, then you will need to do more than what is in the beginner running schedule. At that point, you will want to move into some more advanced running workouts and interval runs.
- It is Okay to Walk! So it is race day, and maybe you have trained well for this run, and maybe you have not. I think you should be commended for your effort of making it to the race and attempting to run. Though, it would have been better if you prepared ! Just remember if you get tired and need to walk some, it is totally fine to do so. They will not escort you off the track if you stop and take a walk break. Just walk and run intermittently as you need to until you are able to run again.
- Don’t Overdo it – Remember not to overdo it on race day. Something happens to you when you run a race. Our competitive side comes out, and the adrenaline starts pumping. Once you hear the gun fire, and you see people sprinting off of the starting line, you want to stay up with the pack. You feel pretty good, too, and you think you can keep up with them. And for the first few minutes, you will do just fine by keeping up with them. But, if you have not trained to run their same pace, then you will hit a wall after a few minutes, and you will pay the rest of the race. Trust me, I have been there and done that. Take my advice and take it slow when you first start out the race. If you are feeling strong half-way or two-thirds through the race, then by all means pick up the pace a little. Finishing strong looks (and feels) a whole lot better than starting strong. And the next time you sign up for a race, remember how much you wanted to keep up with those front guys, and then train to do do just that.
- Relax, and Have Fun – There are many others in the crowd that are just as nervous, if not more so, than you are about running. Do not worry, but rather enjoy the process. Races are a great time to meet people, spend time with friends, and have a good time. You can even run with a friend, or run with some people you meet there. If the race is enjoyable, then you will be more likely to do it again, so take it easy, and have fun. Hopefully running a race will be a great experience for you, and will only encourage you to improve your running fitness.
What do you Think?
Are you planning on running race soon?
Let us know how your first race went!