Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Tips for running a race

I really enjoy racing, it's a massive part of why I run. I have taken part in several races before, from winter duathlons to sprint triathlons as well as a few 10ks, and there are a few hints an tips I have picked up along the way. I thought it would be a good time to share these with you all.

Entry central

Every race has to start by first finding the right race for you. Entry central is where you will have to sign up for most of your races unless it's one of the massive city marathons or 10ks. It has great search functions where you can filter all the races by sport, date, distance from your house etc. have a look for yourself and find your next race.

Think about the route

I am certainly not one for studying every inch of a race route before the big day, but I would suggest having a quick look at the route so there are no surprises. For example, If there are lots of hills you want to do some hill training.

Train properly

If you sign up to a race you are making a commitment that goes beyond just the day of the race. You need to train properly for the distance you are racing to give a good account of yourself. There is nothing worse than finishing and thinking "if only I had trained more"! So be sure that you can commit to at least 8 weeks of training before you sign up.

Eat right

It is very important to eat right on race day. You need to eat a substantial amount 2 hours before your race. If you are running in the morning you NEED to get up early and have a good breakfast. If not you will just crash half way through the race and feel like a prat! True story! I would also recommend taking a banana to eat about half an hour before the start.

Have you got everything?

Most races will send you a race number before the race, or will get you to register before the race starts. You need to read everything the race organisers send you. Don't be caught out by small admin things, you want to be 100% focused on the race so make sure you take everything with you to avoid last minute panics.

If you are going to race then race!

This might not work for everyone, but when I run in a race I treat it as just that...a race! I get extremely well motivated by picking people in the pack and racing them, if I overtake them I if d someone else to catch. It really gets me through and makes things fun.

Know your pace

Work out what finish time you would be happy with, and work out the pace you need to run to achieve this time. You need to stick to this pace until the last 20% I would say, where you can pick things up a bit if you feel able. It's very important to not get carried away and sprint off the start line. Here is a great pace calculator where you can work out what pace you need to run.

Change of clothes for after

If you are running a race in a place that means you have to drive home after, take a change of clothes for the car. It's a horrible feeling when you cool down, but still have to sit in sweaty clothes. Eurgh!


It is very important to stay hydrated before during and after the race. I know we all know this but the excitement of race day sometimes gets the better of us. Keep drinking water, but not too much, you don't want to pee yourself half way through.

Have fun

How cliched is this tip? But it's worth saying I think. Races can bring out nerves in runners and get people stressed. The way I see it, there is no point worrying. Races are meant to be fun, and most of the time they are if you approach it with a relaxed and positive attitude (I just read that back and it sounds really cheesy
but I am keeping it in!).

Good luck with your next race, I hope there was something helpful above. I am going to sign up for the Fourth road bridge 10k next, it's where I got my PB so I hope to better it again this year!
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