It’s ‘race day’, it’s your first 5km run, it may not be a marathon, but the nerves have settled in, you have stuck to your training, it is time! It’s normal to feel jittery and wonder what to expect; the first race can be intimidating which is why we have put together some tips to help get you prepared and excited.
The Build Up
During the week leading up to the race, your running distances should decrease. Include 2 to 3 short runs with a few quick bursts in pace to get the legs moving faster. This week is about ‘storing up’ rest so your legs are ready and fresh for race day. Not everyone goes for a run the day before a race but a short 20-minute run with 5 pick ups under 45 seconds the day before can help sharpen the legs.
This applies to all the admin around race day such as picking up your race pack, the bib and timing chip. Place your kit out the night before the race to prevent scrambling around in the morning. It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast for the day and dress as if the weather is 15 degrees warmer than it is. It’s probably also wise to avoid wearing any ‘new’ gear on the day; rather stick to the tried and tested clothes and shoes.
Catch some Shut Eye
Feeling nervous before a race can affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep but it makes a big difference to your physical and mental performance on race day. Stick to relaxing activities like reading or watching a movie.
If you are taking on a 5km race, then there is no need to ‘carbo-load’ the night before as this is geared more toward events of 90-minutes or longer. For a 5km it’s likely that you have enough fuel already stored in your muscles. If you do attempt to carbo-load, you’ll end up with a lot of extra calories and may end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Having said this, it is still important to eat healthy meals leading up to the race and consume a decent breakfast the day of. Consuming a 200- to 300-calorie meal one or two hours before the race is advised. This should include whole, unprocessed carbs like a bowl of oats topped with fruit and brown sugar.
Aim to drink around 500ml at least of fluid 2 to 3 hours before the race and another 300ml before the race begins. Also be sure to make use of the water stops along the way. The idea is not to get to the point of feeling thirsty because then it is already too late.
The day has arrived, your training is complete, you prepared your outfit the night before, ate healthy small meals, stayed hydrated and arrived early to your race to prevent any scrambling; you are officially set to go. Now all you need to do is enjoy this great experience of taking part in your first 5km race. Take in the scenery, chat to people around you, smile and don’t be too hard on yourself. This is just the start of many races to come so soak it in.
We hope to see you out there on the roads and the trails!