Butterflies before First Race?
Question:I've been training to run my first race ever which is coming up soon and I'm nervous because I don't know what to expect.
I guess butterflies are natural, but can you tell me what races are like and what to expect? Are the races competitive or more comraderie?
What's the best way to pace myself durng a 5K?
Aslo, what do I bring?
for most large 5k events, 99% of the people there are not competing, but just running for fun. talk to them! you're all in it together, and it helps you forget about running. runners are some of the friendliest people.
pacing - keep it steady. try to find a pace you can keep up the entire 5k. if you feel really good near the end, you can speed it up.
what to bring - I like to bring and wear only what I need for the run, and lock everything else in my car (or have a friend hold it). some runs will have bags with name tags to keep your stuff for you, but many dont, so dont count on it. there will probably be water stations on the run, so dont weigh yourself down with water. for a 5k, you really dont need any food, except maybe when you finish.
what to wear - when you run, it will feel about 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature, so dress accordingly. a jacket that feels nice at the start will have you sweating heavily by the first mile. if its really chilly out, some people like to wear a plastic trash bag when waiting around at the start, then tear it off after they start moving.
How long you been running?
How long you been training for this one?
How old are you?
Are you fast or running for the thrill of the race?
Have you run track in school?
What are your expectations?
As for the pace, I think it should be slightly faster than the pace that you can comfortably talk in. That should be you minimum speed, and a faster base speed if you can keep it up. Best place to increase your pace would probably be at 1k intervals.
Take proper shoes, don't wear them there unless you know you'll be running right away. A couple bottles of water or sports drinks like Gatorade helps. If you feel like it, take a Power bar performance bar or something similar to it that you can eat with your water about an hour before the race.
As for preparations, you should warm up at least 30 minutes before your race with stretches and a light jog until your sweating a little bit. At about 10 til (your race), relax and regain your stamina. A little bit of light jog right before the race and you should be set to go. I know it sounds complicated, but its actually really simple and you can use it for any race.
How competitive a race is really depend on where you are in the "pack," the runners leading the race are likely to be extremely competive, while the one's further back may or may not be. Don't worry though runners are really nice people and after the race everyone is going to be excited and friendly.
I think that the trickiest part of the pacing is right in the beginning when you first start. Everyone is going to be running much faster here than at any other time during the race, except the finish. Getting a good start is important because it'll save you difficulty later (passing runners is mentally challenging & you'll get a confidence boost knowing that you started strong). In the beginning run fast, but don't full out sprint b/c you'll need strength later. Be sure to "empty your tank" as my coach says at the finish line, meaning being completely out of energy, b/c other runners will sprint and times for 5Ks are extremely close (down to seconds and 10ths of seconds). You could add sprints to the end of your runs to practice.
What to bring:
- lots of water!
- snacks (like bananas, bagels, sandwiches, granola, apples, clif bars) but only eat 2-3 hours before the race, after you can eat as much as you want
- weather related gear (extra shoes, socks if it's raining, headband/hat/gloves if it's cold, shelter from the sun)
- music (listen to your favorite song really loud before you run & tell yourself how hard you'll run; getting pumped up before a race is a must)
- a stopwatch
- shoes, shorts, shirt etc.
The Day Before
- Getting a good night's sleep is incredibly important
- Eat normally, avoid anything you wouldn't normally eat
- Walk & light jog the course. Pay attention to the terrain, especially the parts that will give you difficulty (ex. number & location of hills). This will help you with pacing
Before the Race
- Eat a normal breakfast - cereal, toast or bagels are good, avoid excessively fatty foods
- When you arrive at the race get your number and check the time that you're racing
- Send cheerers out on the course - having someone yell your name while you run will encourage you.
- Always use the bathroom before you run
- 30 min before you race start getting ready - do a light jog, butt kicks, high knees etc. & stretch
*Most importantly, get pumped up. Listen to your favorite song & convince yourself of how hard you'll run. Have high expectations for yourself.
- Never look back when you run, other runners will think that you're getting tired and they'll try to pass you
- Don't get stuck behind someone slow. Keep an eye on how fast the person in front of you is running, if you can run faster than that pass them!
- Think encouraging thoughts, never think "well i'm running fast enough" or "i'm too tired". Just think to yourself "RUN! FASTER!!" or "I want this so badly. Run harder." Run your best & have no regrets when you finish.
- If you're hurting (an injury hurting, not tired/sore) stop. You don't want to hurt your body seriously for one race.
Good luck! I hoped I helped. I know racing is one of the scariest things to do & one of the most physically demanding, but it's worth it. Finishing a race is one of the greatest feelings ever - you have this enormous sense of pride at what you accomplished.
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