I don’t remember my first race. But what I do remember is that I always get butterflies before I run.
If you’ve never run a race before, I have a few tips prior to race day to help you feel prepared.
If you are looking for a few ways to get to race day and how you prepare for your first 5K, check out this blog post.
Before the Race
- Lay out your clothes the night before. Wear what you are comfortable in. Depending on the weather, layers may be appropriate.
- Know where you are going, where the race starts, ends, the parking available.
- Set an alarm (or two!).
- Be early. Depending on the popularity of the race, it can get crowded and lines can get long. So be prepared to be early.
- Be prepared for traffic. Many times streets are blocked off and roads are closed for a race, so you may have to find alternative routes. Do some research ahead of time to save yourself the stress.
- Don’t wear or try anything new. Seriously. You don’t know how many times I have to remind people, this is not the time to try out your new shoes (blisters) or new sports bra (no support!).
- Double check to make sure strollers are allowed if you are racing with one! Some races do not allow them or have special start times for stroller runners based on popularity of the race and safety! I’ve had pretty good success emailing the race organizers if I can’t find it on a race website or FAQ.
While you Race
- Use the adrenaline for speed, but don’t get burned out right out of the gate. Many times people will have their PR (personal record) during a race.
- Encourage other runners along the way. I always find I run faster with others cheering me on!
- Don’t judge anyone running ahead of behind you. You probably don’t know their story, celebrate that they are out there running the race.
- Make it a family affair! Whether you are running with a stroller or having your family cheer you on from the sidelines, its a great example and encouragement to them.
After you race
- Make sure you celebrate and grab a picture of you somewhere at the race! This is a great way to remember and share about the journey you’ve been on.
- Keep drinking water to rehydrate.
- Eat good-for-you-foods. I usually like a few carbs, but try and limit super greasy stuff right after.
- Stretch & cool down. Otherwise your muscles will feel it!
- The next day or so, go on a light run or brisk walk to loosen your muscles.
- Sign up for another race! I always find my in-between race time I lack motivation. Races help me keep a running schedule and plan for the next goals.
Anything else you would add? Would love to hear your advice!