Did you know that you can find a race scheduled almost every weekend?
You can hop right onto the starting line almost every week if you choose. However, the idea of joining a race may be daunting for a beginner. Here’s the good news; after your first race you would most likely immediately get on to searching for the next. Joining in on an actual race is actually quite fun, even if it is your first. You will find many participants who join in for the fun of it and are not actually racing for a fast finish. They just want to complete it. It is a great feeling when you reach the finish line just knowing that you stuck with it and completed the course.
Here’s how it works:
There is normally a small entry fee however if you are the stingy type, you can opt to crash the race. Runners crash races all the time for various reasons.
All you have to do to sign up for a race is fill out the registration form and pay the entrance fee. For most races you can do this online. Then you collect your race pack on the collection date which is usually a few days before the race. The race pack consists of a race t-shirt and goodies from the sponsors; so you almost always get your money’s worth. In your race pack you will also get your race number which you will have to pin somewhere on your clothes for the run. Some races will include a tag to track your timing. Show up on race day wearing the race t-shirt, your number, the race tag and just follow the crowd.
I have placed some links to upcoming races. Just hover your pointer on the ‘Race’ menu on the top and you will see a few links. Sign up for a five to seven kilometers race and just go for it. You won’t have to train really hard for this. Just keep with the three week running schedule I provided in my earlier article (click here) and you will do fine.
Additional Race Day Tips
- There will be a lot of people so parking could be an issue. Come early to get a good spot or you will be walking quite a distance after your race.
- Eat a good meal at least 9 hours before you leave for your race. Don’t binge If you don’t want to be toilet hunting in mid-race. Don’t cut back either should you have a weight loss goal or you will run out of energy too soon in the race.
- Most races will provide a light breakfast but for some runners this is not enough. Have a light non-chilly, non-greasy breakfast. Sandwiches, corn flakes and fruits are common breakfast choice. Add your breakfast menu into your training. This way you won’t face unwanted surprises.
- There are water stations every two or three kilometers but bring along a bottle of water for the in between. Hydration is very important. Avoid carbonated drinks.
- Warm-up sufficiently before the race. Getting cramps half way out is no fun.
- Don’t go out with your brand new running shoes on race day. Run with them a few times prior to the race.
- Socks are a must because blisters are no fun
Finishing A Race
A five kilometers race may seem far but most people actually complete a 5k with ease and that is why it is mostly considered a Fun Run. You are not going to come out top 10 (or even top 500) if it is only you first couple of races. The objective is to finish the race even if you are the last person. Most 10k races give out finishing medals or certificates. Run (or walk) just to earn one of these. The largest obstacle of a race is yourself. Stop saying five kilometers is too far. Stop saying,”I could never run five kilometers.”
With as little as two or three training sessions, you are race ready. Give it a try.