Last minute running tips?
September 23, 2006 6:29 PM   Subscribe

RunningFilter: I'm running my first competitive 5K race tomorrow morning. Any last minute tips?

I've been training since early August, and I'm ready to run my first ever 5K competitive race tomorrow morning. Previous running questions (like this one on recovery, or this one on it's benefits) have been of great help, but can anyone tell me what I can expect on the actual race day, and how to be ready for it?

Extra info: It's the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront race so there will be several thousand people there and I'm a little nervous (but also very excited).
posted by patr1ck to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
First, get to sleep.

Second, do not get caught up in the early race hype. You will feel like going out much faster than your practice pace. The crowd may push you along. Resist.

Third, good luck.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:50 PM on September 23, 2006

This is actualy pretty obvious, but make sure you take care of business (you know, the stuff you do on the porcelain throne) way ahead of time.

Make sure you warm up properly and stretch, especially for a 5k.
posted by scalespace at 6:55 PM on September 23, 2006

Congratulations! I ran my first 5k a few weeks ago. It is a great thing to do.

JohnnyGunn's second bit of advice there is one I wish I had. At the beginning I was in the middle of the pack, caught behind some people who wanted to go at a slower pace than my normal one. However, in passing them, I sped up to a rate that I couldn't maintain, and by the end I was pretty tired.

Also, remember that just completing the race is an accomplishment. It is your first one; don't worry about winning. Race against yourself. Note your time just as a guideline for your own training and the next time you run one, use it as a basis for determining your goal.

Good luck!
posted by synecdoche at 7:03 PM on September 23, 2006

Echo JohnnyGunn. Don't get pushed to go out faster than you can sustain (you'll pass all the youngsters about mid-point). Good luck and good for you!
posted by KneeDeep at 7:25 PM on September 23, 2006

It's important to see what time it is when YOU cross the starting line. Similar to how it takes the third car in line a while to get to the traffic light after it turns green. In a big race, it could easily be 30-60 seconds after the time starts. When you get to the end and you're disappointed by your time, this is something you want to know.

I also try to stay very far back at the start. That's mainly because I find it easy to run around slow people but dislike getting passed blindly. YMMV.
posted by smackfu at 7:34 PM on September 23, 2006

Stretch out tonight. Good, long, relaxing stretch session. Eat some pasta. Drink lots of water. Then get to sleep.
posted by frogan at 7:48 PM on September 23, 2006

Yay! Good luck and have a great time! Listen to your body regarding how much water to drink. It's got a nice system going that keeps your fluids in check. If you're thirsty, drink. If you're not, don't.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:52 PM on September 23, 2006

Don't eat anything weird or unusual for breakfast.

Pee early and often. You don't want to be on the interminable last-minute line at the port-a-potty.

Anything you run is going to be your PR for this distance! You can't lose! Don't think of this is a competitive race. You're in it for the experience. First race - don't worry about performance, run for enjoyment.

Just have fun! 5Ks are great running community events and they will remain excellent benchmarks for speedwork. Good luck!
posted by Miko at 8:03 PM on September 23, 2006

If you get a pre-race package when you register, and it includes a little mysterious plastic/electronic tag with no explanation, you are meant to tie that little thing to your shoelace or somewhere else on your person. It's for timing when you go across the start and the finish, to give you an accurate personal time. (Your race may not have one of these anyway.)

If they give you a piece of paper with a number on it to safety-pin to your t-shirt, be sure the pins won't be in a spot that will chafe as the race goes (ie not over nipples). You can pin it lower, closer to your belly.

After the race, keep walking around. And watch where you step, people will be spitting indiscriminately at the ground after they finish.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:55 PM on September 23, 2006

Thanks for the advice all!

The race went awesome, I finished in the top #300, which was my goal. Hooray!
posted by patr1ck at 5:50 AM on September 24, 2006

posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:34 AM on September 24, 2006

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