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A Newbie's Guide to Running the First Race

Updated on June 25, 2014

You have been bitten by the running bug and just couldn't wait to ace your first race. People engage in running for many reasons and one is to lose weight however, running as a serious sport requires a certain amount of preparation and training. The first official race is understandably unnerving for a beginner. Here are a few tips make your first 5K or 10K safe and worth remembering.

Preparing for Your First Run

Consult a health professional

Consultation with a medical practitioner is important. He will provide a general assessment of your health condition, an important consideration before joining a major physical activity like a race.

Prepare your 'battle' gear

Once you get the go signal from your medical professional, it's time to prepare the proper gear which often includes the correct running shoes, apparel and other items to help you train efficiently and safely to avoid any injury.

Hire a trainor

If you can afford it, hire a training coach. If you are on a tight budget, get a training buddy who is more knowledgeable on the subject of running. He can be a friend who has had considerable experience with races. His advise would be handy specifically on the do's and dont's while training and running the race itself.

Never overtrain

Avoid the temptation to overtrain particularly when you think you do not have enough time left to train adequately for an upcoming race. It is important to give your muscles time to rest three to four days before marathon day.

Race Day

Early bird

Wake up early and arrive at the race location at least an hour before your race. This will give you enough buffer time to familiarize with the area, visit the portable potty for the last time, check your running gear, tighten shoes laces, to pray or simply calm your frayed nerves.

Eat light

It is tempting to eat heavy when anticipating an activity like this but do not. Eat a light meal before the race instead of indulging yourself in carbo-loading. More importantly, eat familiar food.

Sip don't chug

During the race, you become so thirsty that your first instinct is to drink as much water as you can. Don't. Not only will it make your bladder full, you could also experience some pain on the sides when you over drink. Small sips will do the job more efficiently.

Start slow,end strong

It is tempting to give all your best when the gun goes off. Start slow and pace yourself. It is better to do so than run out of energy in mid-race.

Your first race should be a memorable experience hence it is not the time to yet to aim to be first in the finish line. Listen to your body and avoid competing with other racers who run past you. More importantly, it is always sound advice to stop when you feel or experience pain. Remember that this is just your first, and there will be other races where you can excel.

How do you find your first race?

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    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Gei Moore 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Judowolf! Thanks! I may have to stick with running for a year or two but mainly to help me keep off the extra weight. It does have it's pros and cons and you are right, it can be quite hard on the knees and joints. Swimming is indeed another great alternative.

    • profile image

      Judowolf 6 years ago


      Excellent advice on running marathons. I gave up running years ago for swimming to reduce the stress on my knees. When you get older it is an excellent source of exercise and can take your time.