Today is going to be all about marathons, since yesterday was the NYC Marathon. I recently (as in about 10 minutes ago) signed up for my first 5k! This makes me extremely nervous, I hate running, really I do. I try so hard to like it, I make a good playlist to use and I just go. Sadly I don’t last long because I get bored and something shiny will catch my attention (seriously it’s true I get distracted every 2 seconds!) Anyways, since I started working here it has made me want to try things I normally wouldn’t do. Which is why I signed up for the Greensburg Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving! And of course instead of running like I should be doing I googled tips and things to know about running either a 5k or a full marathon! What can I say I’m a little obsessed with google and researching things. So here are 10 tips for running a race!
Once you have decided to enter a 5K or any other kind of race your next step is to begin practicing. Don’t show up the day of the race not having trained your body. You could end up with serious injuries. Figure out your weak spots while you are training. If you find yourself getting tired half way through the race, focus your attention on training a bit harder for that leg. Stay true to your workout plan during the race. Practicing prior to the big day will prepare you for what’s to come.
The night before the race, get plenty of rest. You should do your workout early in the morning and get to bed at a decent hour. You will be more focused and ready to run the day of the race if you’ve had adequate rest the night before. Relax and don’t over think the next day’s events.
Before you begin the race, hydrate your body. Drink plenty of water. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will reduce the risk of dehydration during the race. Take a bottle of water along with you to the race. While most races hand out water along the way, being prepared with your own is important.
Eating a simple meal of 200 to 400 calories about two to three hours before the race is important to have fuel for the event, but also have time to digest the food. Never experiment with food or drink on race day. It’s wise to practice eating before training to make sure the food works for you, then replicate this meal on the race day.
Before the race begins, stretch your muscles. Warm up your body by doing stretches from head to toe. Stretch everything from your neck to your hamstrings. Warm up completely. You will find that it will pay off in the end. Save yourself injuries and put in the time stretching before the race.
6. Pace Yourself
When the race begins, pace yourself. While most runners will take off out of the gate fast, they find themselves losing momentum toward the end. If you start off your first half mile pacing yourself, your finish will be stronger. Save your energy for the last half mile of the race and give it all you’ve got. It will be more rewarding to have a solid finish than to finish barely hanging on.
7. Give It All You’ve Got
Save your strength for the finish. When you approach the half way mark you should be picking up the pace to finish strong. Give it all you’ve got in your last quarter mile. Not only will you sprint past runners, you will have an easier time finishing if you give it that extra push
8. Don’t Wear Anything New
“Nothing new on race day” should become a familiar phrase to any road racer. Race day is not the time to experiment with a new pair of running shoes, running shorts, or a new sports bra. It’s better to stick with your tried-and-true favorites that you know are comfortable. If you get a race T-shirt in your race goody bag before the race, you definitely don’t want to wear it during the race. Not only are there bad luck superstitions associated with wearing the race T-shirt, but it will also make you look like a rookie.
9. Avoid Pre-Race Jitters
Pre-race jitters are normal, so try not to misinterpret it or think it is fear; that adrenaline rush you feel is normal and it is part of your body’s natural preparation for the competition. To help avoid nervousness before the event, arrive with plenty of time so you aren’t rushed, get a thorough warm-up, know the course, and dress for the weather. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts before or during the race, try to focus only on your breathing and race like you don’t care about the outcome. Remember goal number one: you are only competing against yourself, so enjoy the moment.
10. Have FUN!
All the nervousness and everything will go away when you start your race and it’s supposed to be fun! There will be lots of people and music cheering you on!
So there are my tips for running a 5k or marathon, I’m sure there are more specific ones depending on what length of race you are running. Is anyone else running the Greensburg Turkey Trot?! If so let me know, we can meet up before or after and take a fitness club picture!!