Thoughts on first race? (Read 104 times)


    Newby posts can be among the most annoying things on the planet so appreciation is appropriate for anyone who indulges me...


    Long story short, I've been thinking about running a 5K in a month or two just for the fun of it. I revived my running "program" starting in late November and have-in fits and starts-slowly built up to a comfortable 3+ miles. I'm really loving it and want to NOT do anything that would jeopardize this good vibe so I don't want to add a race to the mix too early. I have never raced before as I'm not the competitive sort (read type B minus personality) but I've got a 4 yr old daughter (my first and last) and I thought bringing her to a race might be a lot of fun (or 30 minutes of sheer tedium) and give me something pleasant to run toward, add a new dimension to my running experience.


    I know that I CAN do it because I've been doing 5K on a regular basis but the question is SHOULD I do it in a race format? I'm worried about "keeping up with the Joneses" and being caught up in a unsustainable and/or dangerous pace that might ruin the whole experience.


    Thoughts on first race?

    SMART Approach

      Go for it. Think about it as a great work out where you have fun. Don't put any pressure on yourself or have time goal but do run it faster than normal. A couple quick tips. Warm up about 5-7 min of easy jogging 15-20 min before. Mile one, just go out like you do on any other run. Think effort. Comfortable. Do not start fast. Mile 2 settle in and if feeling great, pick up pace a tick. Just a tick where it is barely noticable. At start of mile 3, if feeling good, pick it up a tick again. With 1/2 mile left, pick it up again and take it in. With 100-200 m left, stride it out hard. You will finish strong and feeling great with a smile your 4 year old will see. If following my advice, you will feel strained and tired at finish but not dying. Dying or fried is not your goal, fun work out and fun race experience is. You will still see that your pace and 5K time will be faster than you are used to. It may surprise you. No pressure. Good luck.

      Run Coach. Recovery Coach. Founder of SMART Approach Training, Coaching & Recovery

      Structured Marathon Adaptive Recovery Training

      Safe Muscle Activation Recovery Technique



      That Guy

        i don't think running a race will *ruin* the running experience, but rather create a new experience for you.  The atmosphere of being around other runners is great and lots of races have fun post-race parties.  Just like any other run, a race is what you make of it.  If you don't care about time, take it easy and enjoy it.  And if you want to push yourself, you may enjoy that too.  If you've got people waiting for you at the finish, just make sure you have enough gas in the tank to finish smiling (and running).  Good luck!


        One day at a time

          I am about as slow as they come, and I really enjoy races.  Everyone is so encouraging! And I have NEVER come in last, although in the only mile race I ran, the only person behind me was a 6-year-old...


          I enjoy looking for races when I travel.  I did a really fun 5K in Austin - it started at the lake, went up Congress Street and around the Capitol.  There were live bands all along the route.  That was my PR race.  Smile


          I think you should go for it!  You will have fun. Smile

            Most people in a race are just trying to put in a good effort, maybe get a personal best time, and have fun. It is good to meet with others who are in to running since many of us are running out there for hours by our selves in our training runs. My advice is to add some runs in that are over 3 miles. If you can gradually increase your longer runs to like 4 to 6 miles, then the 3 miles during the race will not be too bad since you prepared to run further. Do some speed-work, which can be as simple as running short sections of your course a little faster. I recommend that you run enough to warm up before doing speed-work and allow some time to run slowly to recover. My first race was a half marathon. I only had like less than 3 months training, but a friend talked me into trying it. "You can walk if you get too tired." I finished it, but my legs were shaking from fatigue.

            Long distance runner, what you standin' there for?
            Get up, get out, get out of the door!


            not bad for mile 25

              SHOULD I do it in a race format?




                Thanks for good advice and encouragement. I've signed up for the race and paid my fee so no going back now. If nothing else I'll get a t-shirt.


                The way Tchuck describes the way to work through the race is very helpful-and actually mirrors what I've been doing as I add miles to my daily workout.


                I wonder about pacing-how people are able to do it without reference points but maybe there are gadgets that make it possible to determine a pace during the race-or maybe it just becomes second nature over time as people get a good sense of how fast they're traveling?


                Again, thanks.


                  I was surprised at my first 5k to find that racing can be a lot of fun. I like a challenge, and pushing my body to run fast is definitely a challenge. Watch out, it can be addictive - I'm currently training for my 4th marathon ;-)


                  As to pacing: I didn't get a GPS watch until I had been running for a few years. It was racing that actually convinced me I needed one, because I have no real sense of pace and always ended up going out too fast, then having problems at the end. What I would do though, that mostly worked, is I would find someone just ahead who was going at a pace I thought I could keep up with. I'd pace on them for a while.  If it felt too easy, I'd move up and find someone else to try to either catch or keep up with. If it felt too hard, so I was puffing and panting in the early part of the race, then I'd slow down.  After a while I would settle into a rhythm that felt good and wouldn't need to pace off someone else. You want to run at a pace that is faster than comfortable, but not like you're dying - at least not until the last mile. Then it's okay to push hard. I've had some races that I just looked at as a game where I would spot someone ahead that I would work to catch up to, then I'd go for someone else and reel them in. As long as you don't push so hard that you have to stop to catch your breath, it's fun.

                    You'll have a great time.


                    Honestly I could never run/train and not race.


                    Plus everyone runs faster with competition than alone...


                    You can pace with technology or on your own, good luck, you'll figure it out.

                    300m- 37 sec.


                      Thanks to all. I'm currently technology-poor-other than a G-shock-so I'm encouraged that I don't have to rush out and spring for some fancy gadgetry. I guess my wife (and daughter) in a pace-car is out of the question?


                      I'm just so thrilled to be back running-and running well-I find myself impatient for the next workout. It also sounds like racing can be a nice shot-in-the-arm when folks are struggling to find inspiration-maybe what I've been missing out on for all these years of running solo (and not running at all). Honestly I feel like a teenager on a first date.


                        I ran my first 5K (and race) in 1994 (after running maybe a year).  At the time I did most of my runs around 9:00 MPM.  I didn't do any kind of speed training.  The first mile of my first 5K was 6:45, assuming the mile marker was in the right position (no GPS watches then).  Of course I slowed down in the 2nd and 3rd miles (maybe to 7:15-7:30), finished in 22 something, but running that first mile was completely exhilarating, and I'll never forget it.  I was hooked after that.


                        My point, who cares if the race doesn't go perfectly, there will be plenty of other races.  Even though I didn't run the perfect race, the effect was completely the opposite of getting a bad vibe.  Racing is a puzzle you solve over time.