This past weekend I raced in the Race 13.1 5k in Roanoke, VA. I know the title of the race is deceiving, but it is a series that runs all over the country and they offer a half marathon but other distances as well. I decided to enter the 5k because it’s been a while since I’ve run one and I wanted to see what I could do since I just started training again.
The half marathon started out at 7:00am and the 10k and 5k both started at 7:15am. It was a little early, but it’s always fun to start off the weekend with a little race! The half marathon was packed, but the 5k/10k was not so much! The race started off around the hospital parking lot, then looped back to the greenway and then back to River’s Edge Sports Complex. Running on the greenway is nice because it is quite flat!
I didn’t do too much of a warm-up because as I mentioned before I am not in great shape and running before a race would just make me tired. I did some dynamic stretching, which I will share my dynamic stretching routine soon! After the race started, I just tried to take it easy by focusing on my form and not getting too excited. Sometimes my adrenaline really quicks in, I go out way too fast, and pay for it later in the race. I went out a little faster than I expected, but I’m happy because I held on.
For mile 2, I tried to settle into a stride. I was feeling great, so I wanted to save what I had for mile 3 when I knew I would start hurting. I tried to not let it freak me out when people passed me and just stay relaxed.
At mile 3, I was hurting a little. At this point I knew I was the first woman for the 5k (which is exciting, because I don’t think that’s ever happened in my entire life). For this last mile, I just attempted to hold on. I knew in my mind that I could run one more mile hard, so I embraced the pain and made my way to the finish.
Overall, I’m super happy with the race! I haven’t done a true “workout” yet since I’ve started training again, so it’s nice to see that I still have a little bit of something in me. I am excited to be running again and getting stronger and faster. It doesn’t hurt to have a little motivation from WINNING. I can’t believe I won, as you can tell, Roanoke isn’t a super competitive town, but still I won! I got a first place medal and a $25 gift card to fleet feet. It was an awesome way to start out racing again!
The post race itself was fun. They had water and gatorade, bananas, apples, granola bars, and pizza! Plus ice cream you could purchase! I wish more of my friends had been there to celebrate with me. I’m looking to get on a racing team, because having these celebrations with other people who understand make the training and pain all worth it!
P.s. I just got these shoes from On called the Cloudsurfers. I’ve only worn them a few times, so I’m hoping to do a review after a few more runs! Though, I’ll always be a fan of the class Saucony Guide or Asics GT-2000!
Now, for you! I’m no expert, but I’ve raced through high school and a lot of college, so I wanted to share some racing tips for any newbie runners!
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Start
It’s so easy to get excited and get out of the start line super fast. This is ok if you are ready to run that pace, but if you’re not in can burn you out quickly and set you up for not a great race.
Instead: Try taking it out slower. Make it a comfortable pace for the first mile (or few depending on the distance of your race). This will help you to gauge how you are feeling and
survive kick ASS the remaining miles. The more you get comfortable with racing, the more you will know your body and the speed you can run.
Aim for a Negative Split
My race last week is a bad example of this, but I let my first tip get away from me (I got too excited passing people). A negative split is where you run faster the second half of the race from the first. Running too fast the first half can leave you feeling exhausted for the second half and feeling poopy as you cross the finish line.
Instead: Again, take it out slow at first!
Use the Hills
A lot of people try to keep the same pace when going down a hill, but this can waste a lot of energy by essentially stopping yourself every step you take when trying to slow down.
Instead: Lean forward, open up your stride, and use the hill. It can be scary and feel like you are going to fall, but you will be much more efficient if you are using the hill to your advantage to gain some speed. You can slow back down when you get to the bottom of the hill. It’s good to add in some hills for workouts sometimes and practice running down hill.
Find a Buddy
Many people run solo and it can be hard to stay in the game!
Instead: Use a partner to stay mentally engaged in the race. Whether it is a training partner or someone of similar pace in the race you are running, finding someone to help you keep pace and motivate you to keep going and pushing can help you run the best race yet!
Counting to Stay Engaged
If you are racing hard enough it is going to be a challenge. That is just the nature of running! During these tough parts when you are hurting, don’t pull yourself out of the race!
Instead: Count! Racing is a mental game, so it’s great to practice this during your runs, so you are used to it come race time. Whenever I start to hurt in a race, I tell myself, I can push through this pain for 100 counts. Then I count to 100 while just focusing on form. It helps to get your mind of the pain and onto your form and counting.
You never want to end a race saying “I wish I would have done more.” So let’s make sure you don’t do that by dillydallying across the finish line.
Instead: Lift your head up, pump your arms, and get moving. I don’t care what pace this is for you, I want you to finish the last 100 meters of your race to the best of your ability. This is the time when you are almost done and can give it all you got, you just have to remember you can do anything for 20+seconds. Finishing strong will help you to end on a good note (and perhaps even pass people in the process!).
Hopefully, if you are new to racing, these tips help you run a great race!
Are you running any races soon?
What racing techniques do you use?
What is your favorite distance to race?