Just in case you've got the jitters or don't know what to expect at a running event, here are a few tips from Everyone Runs, Everyone Walks, a running event company in Tucson, Arizona:
1.) Run or walk the course a week or so before the event so you can get used to it and know what to expect.
2.) Don't run to hard the week or two leading up to the race. Easing up during that time period will mean a fresh body for your run. Besides, you're not going to get much faster by training harder in the weeks before the race.
3.) It's always a good idea to run with water. Runner specific, easy to carry water bottles can be found at local running stores.
4.) Review the course map, any event instructions and directions to the event.
5.) Check the weather report the night before the race. In the event that it's cold or rainy, you'll be prepared with the right clothes and even dry ones at the finish to insure a warm ride home!
6.) Do you have all of your gear? Do an inventory the night before: bib number, safety pins or bib belt, sunglasses, water or performance drink, shoes, socks, visor, headband, shorts, shirt (remember those dreams when you show up somewhere naked!), change of clothes for change in the weather, money for anything that might be for sale (at Everyone Runs everything is included in your entry fee), and maybe even a small snack if you get hungry before the race. As you might have noticed, I did not mention an IPOD, as I prefer to hear everyone around me (personal preference). Is there gas in your car? No one wants to miss a race because they forgot to fill-up, right?
7.) Set your alarm and maybe even a back-up alarm to wake up in-time for an easy morning before leaving your home. Remember, Jean-Paul from Seinfeld fame?
8.) Arrive at least an hour early. This way you'll find a parking spot, be able to take a look around, meet new friends and not get stuck in long porta-pottie lines. It also allows you to take an easy warm-up run and then stretch just a bit. Don't overdue the stretch, but be sure to open up the quads and gluts. It can lengthen your stride and you'll feel better on the course.
9.) If you're running or walking your first race, start towards the middle and don't get caught-up in getting out fast. Start easy and then pick-up your pace as you go along and your legs warm-up.
10.) Listen carefully to the announcer for all of the important details that they will impart upon you before the start.
11.) Take water or performance drinks at the water stations. It can be hard to drink and run, so walk through and drink.
12.) If you're wearing an IPOD, keep the volume low so you can hear fellow runners when they tell you they are passing or just to share words of encouragement. Nature sounds nice, too!
13.) Pay attention to course monitors and course signs. Getting lost is never a good thing.
14.) Finish strong, finish with a smile, high five your friends and enjoy the post race party!
15.) Stay for the awards ceremony and cheer on your fellow participants.
16.) Keep on exercising and sign-up for another event, so you don't make running a sport you just "tried" once. Like anything, it gets even better with age!
17.) Like anything, use whatever works for you!
Yours in fun...
Everyone Runs, Everyone Walks