So you've done your training for your first race, whether it's a 5K, 10K or other race distance. As your race day approaches, you may have some questions and concerns about what to expect on race day. If you're fairly new to running, here are some tips for running your first race.
1. Pick Up Your Race Packet Early
Pick up your bib, timing chip
(if the race is using them) and goody bag the day before the race, if possible. This way, you won't have to worry about rushing to get it on the morning of the race. Also, you're more likely to get your desired race T-shirt size if you pick it up early.
2. Don't Overdress
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3. Choose Your Pre-Race Food Wisely
4. Pin Your Bib
Photo by Gary John Norman
Your race bib goes on the front of your shirt, not the back. You can use safety pins on all four corners of the bib to keep it in place. It's important to wear your bib to let race officials know you're part of the race. In addition, if there are official race photographers on the course, they'll use your bib number to identify your race photos
. So make sure your number is clearly visible when you see photographers on the course and especially at the finish line. If there's a B-Tag timing device
on the back of your race bib, make sure it's not bent or covered with clothing or a running belt.
5. Get There Early
Photo by Gary John Norman
6. Line Up Properly
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Don't line up near the front of the starting line. Faster, more seasoned runners don't like to weave around newbie (and likely slower) runners at the start of the race. Some races have corrals based on estimated pace or post pace signs. If not, ask runners nearby their anticipated pace. If it's faster than yours, move further back. It will be easier to fall into your pace if you're around people that are the same speed as you.
More: Road Race Etiquette Tips
Racing Mistake: Lining Up in the Wrong Position
How to Deal With Crowds at Races
7. Use the Water Stops
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Take advantage of the water stations on the course. If you've never done it before, here are some tips on how to take water from a hydration stop
. And don't forget to thank the volunteers for handing out water!
8. Bring Your Support Team
Invite your friends and family members to support you. Ask them to stand near the finish line so they can cheer you on at the end. It will be much easier to push yourself at the end if you know you'll see your loved ones there.
9. Aim to Finish
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Don't put pressure on yourself to achieve a really fast time for your first race. Finishing the race and enjoying the experience are excellent goals for a first-timer. Enjoy the thrill of crossing your first finish line!
Also see: Finish Line Tips
10. Don't Wear the Race T-Shirt
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