The morning of your first 5K race can be a very exciting and nerve-racking time, but just remember that you are ready for this, and you know what to do. Here are some of my tips on what to do the morning of your first race.
Get a good night sleep:
The night before your race you’re probably both nervous and excited, but don’t let that keep you up all night. Get to bed early so you will wake up refreshed and ready to go.
You may be worried that eating something before your race will leave you all crampy, but you just need to make sure you are eating the right things. Everyone’s body responds differently to different foods, so there is no set standard on what to have. But, there are things you will want to avoid. Avoid greasy foods that are high in fat (e.g. a burger and fries), and avoid excessive alcohol or any foods you are not used to. Just eat what you typically do for breakfast or before your runs. If you usually train after lunch, but the race is in the morning, eat what you normally have for lunch for breakfast that day, that way you know it won't upset your stomach. Basically, race day is not the day for food experimenting, stick with the tried and true foods you know your body responds well to.
Get There Early:
Give yourself plenty of time to find parking, pick up your race pack, use the bathroom, and warm up. If you’re nice and early you won’t be as stressed about having to get everything done before the race begins.
Make sure to warm up. Start about 20 minutes before the race with a 10-minute light jog, and add some of the dynamic stretches we talked about in week 5.
Have a Strategy:
Remember to start your race off slow, don’t let your excitement get the best of you, you’ve been training for this and you know what to do! Start off just like you would a normal run, with your first 5 minutes being a comfortable pace and then slowly increase your speed. Keep in mind the conversation rule we talked about. If you can hold a conversation in your first mile then you’re at a good speed, if you already find yourself gasping for breath then tone it down a little and work up your speed. Once you hit mile 3, increase your pace and effort and prepare for that final surge of power to the finish line.
Use the water spots:
Water spots are there for a reason. It can be easy to focus on your run and forget about your hydration, but you don’t want to start feeling sick halfway through your run or dehydrated after. So, when you see a water stop coming up think about how you’re feeling and grab some!
Relax and Just Have Fun:
Remember, you know what you're doing and you have been training for this for weeks, so just keep a positive attitude and tell yourself "you've got this!" Envision that finish line and how great you will feel when you cross it. Keep up your positive attitude and remember to just have fun!