5 Tips to Successfully Complete Your First Race

5 Tips to Successfully Complete Your First Race

May 26 2016

No matter the distance, signing up for your first race can be both exciting and intimidating.

It’s a new experience and one that many people never decide to tackle. It takes a lot of grit to sign up for your first race. So before you worry about race day, pat yourself on the back for taking on this healthy challenge.

Then, check out these five tips to successfully complete your first race

Know the Route

If possible, try to run the route during your training regime. Getting familiar with the course will help you gauge where you need to push and where you can cruise. If you live close to the race route, go for a run or bike ride so you know how it feels. If you don’t live in the same area as the race, check out the race route online.

Eat and Train Light The Week Before

Keep it simple with eating and training habits the week before the race. Stick with foods that are easily digestible such as oatmeal with dried fruit or a whole grain bagel with peanut butter. It’s important to be properly hydrated throughout the week, as well.

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When it comes to training, your running mileage should begin to decrease, or taper. Tapering allows the body to repair itself after all the training you’ve been doing and allows you to mentally relax. It also keeps your legs fresh for race day.

Be Prepared

Nerves are bound to be high, so to make sure you’re prepared and don’t forget anything the morning of, lay out all your race gear the night before. Remember to include:

  • Shirt
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Shorts
  • Music and headphones
  • Race bib (and safety pins!)
  • Long sleeve shirt (in case of colder weather)

Pace Yourself

Even before the horn goes off at the start line, your adrenaline will be high. This might cause you to start the race off faster than you normally would want to. Many first time race participants give their best effort in the first mile, with two more miles to go. Instead, aim to finish the second half of the race faster than you ran the first half. This ensures you’ll have “enough gas in the tank” to carry you through.

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Breathing properly throughout the race is just as important as the previous four tips. Find a steady breathing rhythm and try to maintain it. Many athletes adopt a two-to-two pattern, meaning they breathe in for two foot strides and breathe out for two foot strides.

Taking on a race is an accomplishment you should be proud of. No matter how race day goes for you, have fun. You’re still beating everyone on the couch.