Five Tips To Preparing for Your First Race

21 Jun

So your thinking of doing a race?  Signing up for a race is an excellent way to help you stay motivated to run.  Realistically you could show up at nearly any fitness level and participate, but for most people simply knowing that you are going to be surrounded by others working to achieve their best will help you gain some motivation to work hard.

If you are new to racing, here are some basic tips that will help you ensure a successful and fun experience.

1) Search www.active.com for a listing of races in your area.  If you have never raced it’s nice to start with a local race.  Your body has likely acclimated to that climate and you will have a better chance of performing well.  If you have never ran at high altitudes, try it out before you place yourself in an environment where you are trying to perform.  There are races happening all the time everywhere so find one near you and enroll.

2)Set a goal.  You are likely to run faster on race day then you typically do.  Your adrenaline will kick in, you’ll be surrounded by motivated people and hopefully you will be rested.  That said, get an idea of your pace based on your practice runs and set a goal completion time.  During the race watch the clock and work to stay on track.

3) Carry water. Many races do not provvide water along the race route.  Make sure you find out ahead of time and carry water with you if needed, particularly if you are running over a 5K.  Ask anyone who has found themselves on a run dehydrated and without water and they will tell you it’s not fun.

4) Find a quality pair of shoes and use them for a while before the race.  Running shoes require you to break them in over time.  Never purchase new shoes right before a race.  I really enjoy shopping at stores specifically suited to runners when purchasing running shoes.  If you are in AZ, one of my favorites is  http://www.runnersdenaz.com/

5) Cold?  Shop your local www.goodwill.com store for some great prices on sports jackets.  You can probably find one so inexpensive that you can take it off part way into the race and leave it.  Many runners do this.  $2 to stay warm before a race is a great investment.  You can also put a hole in the top of a large plastic trash bag and wear it.  This will block the wind as you wait for the race to begin.

Making your first race a great experience is important to keeping your momentum.  Within a week of completing the race sign up for another one, in order to keep you on track.  Don’t be afraid to ask people for tips prior, most runners are happy to share their insights and experiences with new comers.    Good luck, have fun and Run for Life!

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