So…you’ve written down your 2017 goals and a 5K race is on the list. The first time you run a race can be nerve racking! Whether it’s a new distance, a new type of race, or your first time ever in a race, there are always tips and tricks you learn in the process – tips you wish someone told you about. Well, we are here to help! For our Run to Margaritaville series, we love having new ‘LandSharks’ in our races and we’ve gathered some of the best tips we could find for participants, regardless of distance or if you are walking or running. While they all may not fit your needs, we hope you get at least one take away from our go-to list!
“A Thousand Steps to Nowhere” Believe it or not, the success of a race is based on the prep work you do before you even get to the start line! A lot of mental stress can be avoided by planning out your pre-race necessities. Here are some pre-race questions you should answer: When will I pick up my race packet? What is the start time of the race? When do I want to be in the starting corral? Do I have everything that I will take with me on the race course (water, fuel, gel, etc.)? Is my race outfit/costume ready to go (grass skirt and coconut bra…check!)? Where will I park? Where will I meet up with my cheering squad after the event? Make sure you have the appropriate means to contact someone involved in the race planning process and usually email is the best.
“First time I ran was to the end of the block” One of the biggest rookie mistakes is doing something different from your training on race day. Don’t try out anything new on race day! The week prior to the race, go on some short, slow runs and practice your race routine. Eat what you plan on eating before the race, wear what you are planning on wearing and all that good stuff. Think of it as a trial run before the actual run. The last thing you want to find out is that your shark fin won’t stay on top of your head past the first mile marker and you have to carry it!
“I gotta go where it’s warm!” Dress as if the weather will be 15 degrees warmer than it actually is. Your body will warm up significantly during the race and you don’t want to overheat. Additionally, if the start of the race is cold and you anticipate shedding layers, grab some cheap sweats you don’t mind tossing. Most races donate these discarded clothing to local shelters, so they are still going to good use and you aren’t missing some of your favorite gear!
“More and more people are running faster than me” Be realistic about your pace on race day. You will get passed…and that’s ok because you will probably pass other people! As long as you trained to beat the time cap, you will be fine! At the same time, it is important to position yourself in the starting lineup appropriately. If you know you will be walking the entire race, stay towards the back. If you will be walking and running, stay to the right side of the group and towards the middle of the pack, depending on your pace. During the race, if you need to take a break and walk, move to the far right and put your hand up. This indicates to runners behind you that you are going to start walking (or stopping) and they won’t run into you. Finally, when you do get to the starting line, don’t start out too fast! Most first-timers start out way too fast and run out of steam. Slow your breathing, try to relax, and have fun!
Just remember…breathe in, breathe out, run on!
The bottom line is to relax. There are so many things that are out of your hands when it comes to race day, so it is important to just prep what you can control. If you stick to these few pieces of advice, your first 5K will be the first of many!
And if you’re looking for a race that features beautiful views of the beach, LandShark at the finish line and lots of FIN, we would love to have you out for our second annual Run to Margaritaville in Pensacola Beach on October 29, 2017! Registration opens later this month on the 30th…we look forward to seeing all of our running and walking ‘LandSharks’ in attendance!