Just hours ago I completed a 10k. While I did OK I certainly didn’t do the best I could have done. Hopefully this will help you not to make the same mistakes that I did.
- Get a running plan way before the race. Don’t wait until the day of to see what you are made of. Create a plan and slowly progress to your goal. You want to be comfortable at the distance you choose to run.
- Register and pick up race packet early. If possible, don’t wait to register right before the race. This is added stress that will take away from the energy you need for running.
- Sleep well the night before.
- Eat the right foods a few hours before the race. Too much food and you will feel slow and bloated. Not enough food and you may burn out. Practice with what works for you on your practice runs. Also, eat something that you know will work well with your stomach.
- Taper off training on race week. You want your body to be at its best. Run a little less that week to make sure you are fully recovered.
- Lay out clothes the night before. Make life easier and have everything ready the night before.
- Get to race destination early. Give yourself enough time to stretch and find the restrooms.
- Study the race course. If possible, get a map of the race course and spend time studying it. Some courses are marked poorly and this results in a frustrating run.
- Don’t sprint out the starting line. A lot of inexperienced runners will blast off the starting line only to burn out in the first mile. Take it slow at first and gain speed as you go. Once you exhaust yourself there’s no turning back.
- Pick off one person at a time. To challenge myself, I like to try to beat one person at a time. This is, until I find someone faster than me. At that point I just try to keep up.
- Have fun. Running is a great way to train and races are a great way to share this love of running with others.
So where did I go wrong today? Number Nine. I got caught up in the excitement and went way too fast off the finish line. After the first two miles I started to burn out. What normally would have been a comfortable run, turned out to be a nightmare. My form broke down and my breathing was way to heavy. I had to spend the rest of the run just trying to keep going. Had I taken the first two miles slower I would have felt better and had a better time.