My first race. What do I need to know?

Never done this before and I really don't know what to expect. Any tips very welcome. It is a 10k on 21.5. I'm proceeding on the basis that someone has to come last, but it ain't gonna be me. I am prepared to race for the finish line to be second to last. What should I take, not take. Anything I need to know about warming up, lining up or run etiquette? What about the loo situation? 


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30 Replies

  • Drink plenty of water the day before the race. Drink a reasonabe amount but not way beyond your normal intake on the morning. Do not take laxatives, hallucinogenics or muscle relaxants (and definitely not all three !) before the race. Line up with the other runners. Position yourself roughly where you expect to finish (ie, if you are anticiapating finishing towards the end of the field, do not start on pole position, and vice versa). Do not barge, kick, knock over or expectorate at other runners. Run at your own pace - do not try and keep up with people who pass you or slow down to the pace of people you pass.

    There may be loos. Do not use them. They will not imprve your day. Assuming you have heeded the advice re drinking and laxatives you should be able to make it through an hour or so of running without needing a loo. Ditto water bottles, jelly babies, energy gels, ipods, etc etc. Leave them all at home. there will be water stations along the route and you do not need food during a 10k.

    Have fun and don't forget to write a good race report and show us the bling.

  • Haha do not take laxatives! I squirted my tea up my nose. Ok drink a lot the day before, I can definitely do that. I have a full on fitness course the night before so I suppose I should give that a miss since I sometimes get aching if not to say screaming muscles from that. What about warming up? I'll walk 20 min to get there, so that's a warm up but then I expect there'll be a lot of hanging about waiting time in which to lose that lovely warm up effect. Looking forwyrd to starting my running bling collection. 

  • Check out the course either live or online so you have an idea what to expect. 

    Plan for extra traffic if it's a biggish event and make sure you know where to park.

    Take money (for car park just in case) and safety pins for your bib.

    Allow plenty of time to get there so you're not rushing around.

    Join the loo queue early.

    Walk around and do some warm up exercises while waiting.

    If you're not in a wave, then join others mid - back on the starting line. 

    Don't start off too fast. That's the biggest error because then it bu**ers up your pace for the rest of the race. Remember it's your race and your race only.

    Let other faster runners pass and don't block them in (unintentionally of course!)

    Run like hell and think of the finish line/bling/PB/post post/how epic you'll feel when you've finished.

    The most important thing is enjoy the whole experience. It's supposed to be fun and you'll be brilliant. Good luck!

  • Great thanks, safety pin I wouldn't have thought of. I know the lay of the land since it is where I usually run. Run like hell, the whole time? What's a wave?

  • A wave is just a particular group of runners starting at a particular time. It's used at big events so that everyone is not starting at the same time but if yours is a small event they probably won't have them. You would be told well in advance what wave you are in.

    And yes run like hell, but pace yourself 🙂

  • Great, thanks

  • I shpuld be nervous but I am actually quitelooking forward to running with a pack of other runners.

  • Which one are you doing Bop ? :-) xxx

  • It is here in Berlin and the course is where I run anyway so couldn't be an easier start really :) signed up and got my tshirt already. Hoping the other runners don't mind slowcoaches too much.

  • Oh yes ,  I forgot youre in Berlin !

    Yes I agree with IP and Rig 100% , but  personally  I would take some water . Not sure if you are happy carrying it , but last year I did a 10k and it was a very warm day. The race blurb said " Water provided at 5k mark " I assumed rightly or wrongly that it would mean a bottle of water . No chance ! It was a tiny little flimsy plastic cup, which was totally inadequate for the conditions. I think the organisers got caught out there as to how warm the weather was going to be .

    I always work on " Better to have and not need , than need and not have " Plus I always get hot when Im running anyway :-)

    I always take an Immodium the morning of the event too , but maybe that's just me :-)

    Good Luck, you will be fine. This is the start of the race addiction now Bop, once this is done , you will be looking out for more to get that " fix " :-)

    I am sure you will have  a brilliant time, enjoy it and don't worry about how " slow " you think you may be .Yes you will get the racing snakes and elites , but most people are there to enjoy it , soak up the atmosphere and have a great time of it all ! :-) xxx

  • I can look for a belt that would hold a small bottle. Would come in handy for summer and if I get into running longer stretches. Thanks Popsy. Never thought about immodium but I'll look into it. You guys are the goods - so much great advice.

  • Your 1st 10k race!v exciting!

     I always have a routine of porridge and a banana before the race, I only have 1 cup of tea  that morning and then water on the way round. I have  to go to the loo to convince myself I will last the hr  then I don't worry, and its never been an issue cos psychologically I know it'll be ok then! If you're walking there that should be warm up enough! I was tense and developed aches everywhere the few hrs before the race but all was fine. The crowds really spur you along and especially the sight of the finish line. You'll love it and be back for more!I always have my trusty mint tic tacs to refresh my mouth and as a reward every so on. Fruit skittles are good too!Also look up last year's results for a browse through.

    Good luck!you'll  be fine !😊😆

  • Thanks ali! I'll go for porridge but I'll have to pass on the banana, having been force fed them as a child. We had a kind of orchard full of bananas, mangoes etc. Can't face bananas any more unless they're in a milkshake. I'm a bit worried about the loo situation because I feel as if I constantly need a leak but hopefully if I go just before the run, it'll be good. I've since read we're doing a collective dance warm-up thing before the race starts. I reckon I am going to get a gigantic adrelin surge. Looking forward to it but also kind of worried about it.

  • For my first 10K I ran the whole thing needing the loo. It can work in your favour as you're so desperate to finish!

  • Haha like that. See me crossing the finish line first and brushing everyone aside. Well the heck is that loo?!

  • Generally I normally :

    1. Stand with the big crowd of lycra

    2. Start running  when you hear a bang or horn

    3. Stop running when someone puts bling on you. 

    Oh and all of the above 😀🏃😁

  • Love the idea of people chasing after me, trying to put my bling on. However I may be lying on the floor.

  • Ha ha , that's far too simple Andy ! But you are completely correct ! :-) xxx

  • That's brilliant - I admire your braveness.

    My biggest tip (as someone who has still never raced ;-)) is to remember you are only running in a race of one - yourself.

    Can't wait to hear how you get on!

  • Thanks bud. It is not really all that long ago I started this running lark and w1r1 didn't feel as if I was ever going to be running any kind of race! I actually how good running makes you feel.

  • Go for it bop! You'll do fine! It'll be great! I can't add to the other great advice on here..😊

  • Thanks Dave, well everyone else here is being brave, so I figured I should be too. Actually I've gained some confidence generally through running, although I was never shy. I love the way getting better at one thing gives you confidence to try other things.

  • Nothing new on race day (shoes, food, clothing, water belt) as you don't want a blister or to feel ill.

    Also, if you take a walk break move to the side.  Some folks here even signal by raising their hand.  This is so the person who might be right behind you doesn't slam into you.

    Most importantly have fun.  It's a blast.

  • Oh thanks. I wouldn't have thought to signal but it is true in a crush that could really cause problems.

  • Ah, forgot you were in Berlin. In that case ignore prev advice re nutrition. Currywurst & pommes from an Imbiss near the start. Half litre of Schultheiss at the beer stations. Whereabouts are you running?

  • Tempter. Start near the Brandenburg Gate.

  • Rig is spot on as per.  

    I like to take as little as humanly possible

    I used the portaloos for the first time as the queue for the ladies was miles long. It was spotlessly clean so phew!  I had always avoided them, fearing the worst.  On my last race though there was no chance of getting to the loo before the start as the queue just went on forever. Not nearly enough,but that seems to be the norm unfortunately.   If you find a parking space near a supermarket etc you can use the loo pre race, which is always a boon

    Have fun!  

  • I think it is the hover technique called for. Hoping there won't be a huge queue if I need to go just before the race. Actually weirdly this is the only thing I am actually worried about. 

  • I have my first 10k race a few weeks after yours boptillyoudrop49 

    My biggest fear is either a really warm day - something I am just not prepared for - or needing the toilet a few km in! I think I might just carry a wad of loo roll with me!

    There is a long Hill in the middle of the race and no downhill on the other side, but that's a minor inconvenience compared to the potential heat/toilet issue. 

  • The good thing is we are not worrying about the actual running Simon. Good luck with your race. Hopefully we don't have to finish with our legs crossed!

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