Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Five: 5 things I wish I knew before my first race

Five Things:  Race Day

Sort of a broad topic... so I'm going to go with 5 things I wish I knew about a Race Day for those of you that are going to have your first.

1. Lay everything out the night before

Most races, no matter how well you know you are prepared, nerves are going to be a factor the morning of the race.  If you are anything like me, when nerves kick in, that means brain cells check out.  So it's best to really get everything out the night before & double check.  That's a great time to make sure everything is ready to go, everything is charged up & even better?  If you oversleep, all you gotta do is go to this one area where everything is at &pile it on & jet out the door.

2. Starting drinking water as soon as your eyes open.

I never realized the importance of hydration until I went into my first race, a half marathon, & conked out about mile 9 because I was completely drained.  & then genius me drinks a Diet Coke.  What was I thinking?  I wasn't. I was dumb.  I never realized how much water means to a body that is being pushed.  I now can feel when my body is dehydrated & in need of water... that's even too late.  You should have get that feeling.  So drink up.  ... & pee a lot.

3. Plan ahead for parking.

Don't be like Stitch

Most times, you're not familiar with an area.  And even if you are familiar with it, streets are usually blocked off & areas are crowded & parking is already taken up.  Look at the map of the race ahead of time & look for a good place to park.  Somewhere close enough to the start/finish line but far enough away that you aren't stuck not able to get out.

4.  Look around.

Be a Meerkat

There's so much going on around you in a race & we get so caught up in ourselves.  Which we should.  We put a lot of time in training to get to that point.  But take the time to look around.  See where you are running.  It's not every day you get to run in the middle of a busy road in places you'd never run.  It's not every day that people are standing on the side of the road with signs for you to read.  It's not every day you get to run next to people you would never run with.  I know the most experienced runners who are the front of the pack don't have time to talk to others, but I always say that's an advantage of being a back of the pack crew.  We get the chance to check on each other, we get to say hi, we get to help each other through.  Be bold & ask someone how they are feeling.  Ask someone who looks like they are struggling if they are OK.  Look around... take it in.

5.  The Finish Line.

You only cross your first finish line once.  There is something about any finish line that is special, but your first time?  It's magical.  If you can, have your first race be a good finish line.  Where people are cheering & the finish line is BIG... & especially if someone is there to capture you crossing it in pictures!  & be prepared for the emotion of it.  You may be smiling, you may be crying, you may be DYING... but you will feel amazing about crossing it.

What is one thing about your first race that
you wish you knew? 


  1. OH, # 4! I'm so bad about this. I can tell you about every crack, pothole, sewer cap, random Q-tip, or toilet brush head in the street. But, I'll totally miss the very cool statue, historic building, grand home, beautiful park, etc. I was supposed to see. I'm trying to be better.

  2. oh definitely number 3! I had a bad experience with that and almost missed the start of the race. Needless to say it did not help my race jitters

  3. All great tips! I'm so sentimental about my races that I think the last is my favorite. The practical advice is good and super important, but the finish line is what it's all about. My first race was really small, so no hoopla at the finish line. My first half marathon was my 5th race but it was the biggest race I'd done, and I think that combined with the magnitude of the distance itself made the finish line the most memorable experience. People were lined up all along the course for, I don't know, well before mile 13, and looking around and seeing and hearing all those people and knowing what I was just about to finish was so moving! Ugly cries at the end, for sure.

  4. Yes to all of these things especially laying out a flat runner. Not just because it's smart and keeps you from freaking out looking for everything on race morning, but also for social media purposes because I love seeing all the flat runners on Instagram! :)

  5. I can never get enough water!!! I would add to this list to double check your bib and timing chip before you leave the expo. Lacey ended up getting the wrong chip and didn't notice till later that night when she went to put it on her shoe. It was a very stressful night until we could figure it out with runner relations in the morning. -M

  6. Great list! #4 is so true. Sometimes we get so caught up in how we're doing that we forget to enjoy the experience. One of my race goals is to always have fun. I especially love this: "It's not every day that people are standing on the side of the road with signs for you to read." So true! Also so true about the finish line!

  7. This is a great list! I tend not to do well with the water ahead of time. If I drink a lot, I end up needing to stop multiple times to get rid of it. It's got to be this getting old thing.

  8. All great tips for a new (or pro runner!). I've always packed my things the night before and planned on parking (I'm a worrier haha) however the drinking water is one I forget when my nerves kick in.

  9. my first half marathon finish line was amazing and i will always remember it. i absolutely bawled crossing that line!! i lol'd at you drinking a diet coke! jeepers :)


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