By: Coach Delilah
You made it! You are ready to enter your first official 5 km race! How exciting is it that you have reached this point through your hard work and diligent training! It will be very easy to get caught up in having a goal time or a goal placing. You also may have many friends that have known about your training ask you what time you think you might finish your 5K in, or if you’re “going to win”! They mean well, but… Ignore them, ha ha! Please make your first race about completion, and having fun. We can worry about times later. Your first race is about establishing a baseline to work from.
PICKING YOUR FIRST RACE
There are many considerations when picking a race. Here are some guidelines that I recommend following:
1. Local and in the same time zone
It is important for your first Ralph to be in familiar territory and in the same time zone so you don’t have to worry about changing routine, or being jetlagged.
2. Certified course
There is nothing worse than completing a race and realizing that it was too long ( it’s happened many times!),Or, too short (also happens!! And even though it’s nice to have a “faster” time, you know deep down that it is not a true time, and it will also make it harder for you to match that time when you do a true 5 km distance. The race website will usually say if it is certified or not, and you can also email the race director if you are unsure.
3. Fair terrain
Do yourself a favor, and don’t make your first 5K a trail obstacle course, or a huge hill climb! Most websites post their course route and elevation on their website
Places to find races:
The “Canadian Race Guide” edition of Canadian Running Magazine.
Your local Running Room or running store.
Remember, we are focusing on completion, not on placement! Bask it all in! Races are a special thing. The camaraderie in the running community is just amazing.Make a new friend at the start line or at the finish line, I’ve made some dear lifelong friends that way!
1. Pre-race food
Do not change what has worked for you in training. Hydrate well. A little bit of coffee on the morning of the race can help performance. Please avoid using any anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil. This can damage your kidneys, and, also, if you need painkillers to get through your race, you really should be sitting out this one to heal properly.
Do NOT use new shoes!I Recommend at least 25 to 50 km on a pair of shoes that you plan to race in.
Arrive at least one hour before your race to give yourself time to warm up, go to the porta potty, etc. don’t be surprised if you have to use the porta potty 10 times before your race. Nerves can do that ha ha! If you plan on using the bag check, I recommend 75 to 90 minutes prior.
3. Start line
Seed yourself accordingly! Slower and newer runners should not be at the front of the pack on the start line. This can not only frustrate those who are elite racers, but can also result in hampering your own race by being trampled on our pushed around at the beginning. We want your first race experience to be a positive one!
4. Start of race
Avoid almost every new racers mistake of going out too fast. Stick to a conservative beginning. The beginning of the race should feel easy, the middle should feel like a true effort, and the end should feel hard.
5. Most Important!!!
HAVE FUN!!!! Have fun with it, you made it, your first race! Be sure to plan something fun for after your race. You’ve earned it, and you deserve it!!!