Tips for First Time Racers

Greetings from no-man’s land! It’s been hectic over here with it being the end of quarter at work. I didn’t get off of work until 7 last night and then went straight to Best Buy to purchase a new laptop!

My computer screen has been cracked out for a long time now (maybe 6 months?), so I had to connect it to the tv in order to use it, which is really inconvenient and annoying. I figured this week was a good a time as any for a new tech toy since I’ll be in L.A. for 5 days, and I wouldn’t be able to blog without a functioning computer.

Anyway, I only have time for a quick-ish post today, so let’s get to it.

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Tips for Your First Race

If you’ve been following my blog at all for the past couple of months, you’ll know I’ve been training to run my very first half marathon, which is also my very first race in general. Straight from couch to 13.1 is how I roll ;)

One of the commonalities I’ve noticed on running blogs is the frustration that experienced racers feel in the corrals and on the course, often times due to newb racers (like yours truly). Honestly, I haven’t been worrying much about the race itself because I know I’ll finish. What I have been worried about is race etiquette and what to do on the course. I don’t want to get spit on, step on GU, crash into someone (or someone crash into me), and the various other annoying things that could happen. I know I probably can’t avoid these 100%, but I wanted some tips for making the most of it all.

Enter Sarah aka Skinny Runner! I emailed her last week to ask for some tips for newbs because this girls runs races like they’re nothing…and fast. She’s known for her hilarious, self-deprecating humor and her crazy running skills. Funny stuff aside, she was kind enough to actually write me a long, detailed email with her most helpful hints even though she probably gets asked this all the time, so I thought I’d share a condensed version with you folks over here. Enjoy! [I'm hoping I have an ugly (and good) race photo to send her as a thank you. She posts up bad reader photos that people send her, and I don't take good candid photos that's for sure.]

Tips a la Skinny Runner (quoted when I copied n’ pasted from the email)

1) “Start in the right corral according to the time you are going to run, not your wishful thinking time.” 

 -She said you could move up to a slightly faster corral time if you’re feeling really strong and prepared that day, but to stick to what you trained for. If you start in a too-fast corral, “you get passed by a bunch of people which is demoralizing or you start off way too fast and then blow up at the finish”. Yeah, that doesn’t sound fun, so I’ll stick to my slow-mo corral spot.

2) “If at anytime you need to stop and walk, stretch, whatever, move over to the side of the course, preferably the right side.”

-”Dont ever just stop in the middle of the road, you could get hurt, someone could hit you from behind, etc”. Nuff said.

3) “When going through aid stations, you don’t have to grab the first cup.”

-Being that I’m running a really large race, she noted that there will often be around 30 people giving out water. Therefore, keep on chugging along until it gets less crowded. Also, ” it’s just less energy you’re having to expend and lessens the risk of colliding with someone.”

4) Look around you before you spit, throw your cup/GU, and other things of that nature.

-” Generally its best to toss it to the side of the road and not just drop it.  also if you have to hawk a loogie, spit just look behind you before you do.”

5) Did I mention starting in the right corral? No?

-She emphasized that this is by far the best way to go.

6) Run your race.

-My personal trainer gave me this tip as well. Basically, don’t pay attention to how people around you are running. Run at the pace that you trained at and do what you planned to do. If you’re like me, you’re obviously not going to win anything or even place, so I’m only competing against myself.

I hope that this information is useful to some of you out there training for your first (or second) race. I know I’ll be keeping these in mind as I line up at the start on Sunday (ohmygahhhh it’s in less than 5 days)!

Question of the Day: What tips helped you the most during your first race?

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24 thoughts on “Tips for First Time Racers

  1. Ahh 5 days! So exciting. I have yet to run my first race. I am eyeing a half marathon in September, but I feel like I’m a crappy runner and won’t be able to do it. I think the run your race is the most important tip of all. Good luck girl, you’re gonna kick major ass!

  2. I think one of the best tips I got was to go to the bathroom when you wake up, and then before you leave, and then if there’s an open porta-potty before the race, go then too. You don’t want to have to stop! Oh, and bring your own toilet paper. They run out quickly, especially at big races. It happened at my marathon, but luckily I had my own!

    Sorry for the kind of TMI tips. But I had to share. They are true!

  3. The looking before throwing your cup thing is a good tip! I’ve had gatorade and water splashed all over me from people flinging their cups in the middle of the course. Aim for the sides! :-)

  4. For my race (which was last Sunday) the best tip was to take my time and enjoy it! I only stopped when I felt I needed to and it worked for me! Also stay hydrated! :) Have a great race girly

  5. Very cool! That necklace is pretty neat too. What kind of computer did you get? Mine’s on it’s last leg too (won’t work if it’s not plugged in, deleted windows.. lots of fun stuff) so I’m in the market!

  6. My favorite tip of all those is definitely “run your race!” IT makes a huge difference!!! I went out too fast in my last race because I was definitely running some other girls’ race!! haha

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