The temperatures have been down these last few days in Boston, which has us thinking about the onset of fall. We still have over a month until temperatures really begin to cool down, but this week’s temperatures still have us reminiscent of flannel shirts, pumpkin bread, and hot coffee.
This also has us looking at our calendars to see what autumn has in store. And for many of us, that means running races! The cooler weather makes a 5k, half marathon, or even a full marathon that much more comfortable and enjoyable. And in order to prep fully for these races, our training starts now.
If you haven’t run a race before, believe us – there’s so much fun in store. There are a few key pieces of advice that people often forget to tell you before a race – so we’re here to set the record straight.
- You’ll run with a crowd. It’s obvious that, at the beginning of the race when everyone is clustered near the start line, you’ll be running alongside a slowly-jogging crowd. However, what many don’t tell you is that, depending on the race, you may be with a crowd for every mile. It will certainly thin out a little as you run farther, but for those who are used to running alone, this may be a shocker. Use the crowd to cheer on your fellow racers and get your adrenaline pumping.
- You’ll run faster than you’re used to – especially at the beginning. There’s something about a race that gets our blood pumping. With so many people ready to take on the race, the energy in the air is palpable. This adrenaline may mean you pump up the pace – even unknowingly – at the start of the race. Use a tracking app or watch to track your pace from the start, then slow down after the first mile or two if you find yourself speeding through. After all, with races, consistency wins!
- You may need to pass people. Sure, you might not consider yourself the fastest of the lot. But chances are your pace is faster than someone else’s, which means passing. This translates to quick, lateral movements that you may not be used to. Incorporate some side lunges into your training regimen to ensure your knees are strong and can take the hit.
- You’ll need a zippered pocket in your running gear. Whether it’s in your tights, shorts, or shirt, we highly recommend wearing clothing with a pocket of some kind. Especially if you’re attending the race alone, or only with a partner running beside you, you’ll need somewhere to put valuables like your car or house keys. Avoid the need to rent a locker to store a small key by prioritizing the zippered pouch.
- You may need to shed clothes. Even if it’s super chilly when you start the race, once you get running you’ll work up a sweat. Wear a sweatshirt or long-sleeve that you don’t mind losing to the roads of the race. Carrying your sweatshirt for 13.1 miles because you don’t want to lose it isn’t just annoying – it’s unrealistic.
- You’ll have fun! Yes, training to run any amount you haven’t run before can be grueling. But for all those days you cursed running, this one makes it worth it. All those smiling faces cheering you on, the energy and buzz of the runners beside you, the fun music and announcer – we promise, you’ll love it!
What are your best race day tips? Let us know in the comments below!