Couch to 5K
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Tips for Race and Event Days?

Greetings, runners!

I'm doing my first ever big event in a month's time (the Great South Run). I just wondered what everyone's tips were for big events, especially for first timers!

My main concerns are: 1) getting there smoothly 2) queues for toilets...! 3) nutrition/hydration. 4) Not a concern but arranging points for my family to see me from!

I think we may take Park & Ride or the train so we don't have to worry about traffic and parking. I just tested out a SiS energy gel today and it seemed fine, I'm not sure I really felt the benefits but I perhaps didn't feel as tired as I normally do. So I think I will take one or two on race day. And as for the toilets... well, not much I can do about that! Just have to allow plenty of time for that, I guess!

I hope everyone had a good weekend running, weather was fab for it here. Today I ran 13km, my longest ever run! Just kept it very slow and steady and I was able. 3km more to go and I will be at race distance! Although I probably won't actually get there until race day.

Sarah x

8 Replies

Wow, I'm in awe. I did my first official event today but that was just a. 10k Race for Life.

You might be better posting in the Bridge to 10k community on here as there are a lot of seasoned distance runners in there as well as some newer recruits like ourselves.

Good luck.


There shouldn't be a "but" or a "just" in that first sentence! Good on you. This is only my 2nd event and my 1st was also a 10K Race for Life last year, just like you!

Thanks, I am in the Bridge to 10K community as well. Just posted here as this one has more members!


How exciting to have your first event coming up! I can't help with your concerns about getting there, I'm afraid, but here are some ramblings about events from my perspective.

Don't try anything new on the day - stick to what you are used to and know will work. This goes for kit, nutrition, timing for loo breaks, breakfast - anything! Practice now with gels for example.

On the day, the queues for the loos are usually dreadful, and the loos aren't very pleasant either :( Allow plenty of time.

Once you're in the pens, it can take ages to get to the start at a big event. If it's cold or wet, think about taking a disposable jumper, or even a bin bag, that you can abandon at the start. Some big races have bins to collect clothes for charity.

Don't let yourself be dragged along too fast at the start because some people will set off like rockets. Know your pace and stick to it. Also, it can get quite busy and people can barge around a bit at a big event, which can be a bit unnerving your first time out.

Save a teensy bit of effort for the end - you want flying feet in that finish photo :)

Remember to enjoy the crowds and the scenery!

I'm sure others will add loads more useful stuff but I hope that's helpful. Happy running!


Thank you! Yes I've already made a mental note to not be dragged along faster than my pace!


be sure to be well hydrated. this means drinking plenty the day before. And that means at least 2.7 litres of water for a woman.

I would not bother with the energy gels. If it is a 10 or 13 mile race you will nit reach depletion stage. But if you must insist in using them, then keep a keen ey out for where the toilets are en route.

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"If it is a 10 or 13 mile race you will nit reach depletion stage" - does that not depend on time as much as distance? I plan on running it around 2 hrs (ie. not fast!) so it will be quite a long haul! I sort of thought at my pace that having something at about 10K would be a good idea. I tested a gel at 8K yesterday and ran another 5K, didn't have any digestive issues (thankfully)!


It is very unlikely you will deplete your glycogen stores in 2 hours. Marathon runners usually bonk around 18-20 miles. I have on occasion used gels in the past on really long races around the 5 hr mark but generally regretted it. Although I am very anti sugar anyway. I think in shortish races it is more psychological than actual physical benefit but y'know whatever works is king. If you feel better for a gel at 8k then go for it. As long as you don't throw the packet on the floor it's all good.


Ok! Well I wasn't sure about it, so you have given me food for thought. Perhaps I will reconsider or maybe only take one if I feel really bad! And no I won't throw it on the floor, promise!


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