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Tips For Running Your First 5K — Part 3

Starting to run may have seemed like a large enough undertaking. After working up in mileage, a 5K seems more of a possibility now. But the process can be nerve-racking. Competing against other runners instead of just yourself, not knowing where to go or what to do on race day.

This five-part series will offer some suggestions on how to make your first 5K experience a smooth one. Please feel free to pose additional comments below.

Part 3: Race Morning

You have registered for the race. You have picked up your packet. You seem all set to go for the 5K. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind before you even leave the house for the race.

DON’T change your normal routine on race day. Treat it as any other running day. Eat the same foods you would normally eat before a run and drink the same amount of fluids. You are bound to run a better time if your body is acclimated to the routine. Your body doesn’t think today is any different.

DON’T run with new shoes for the same reasons. Breaking in new shoes is not a good idea to do on race day.

DO remember your race number before you leave the house. Getting a new number is simply a hassle you won’t have to worry about if you make sure to bring it with you on race day.

DON’T tear off the bottom part of your bib. Some bibs may not have this piece, but if it does, leave it on. This is used for timing and scoring purposes and needs to be on the bib. If not, at least on your person at the finish.

DO give yourself enough time in the morning so you aren’t rushing. If you have already picked up your race materials, you won’t need to do anything once you get to the race site, but you don’t want to drive up, hop out of your car and run to the start. Give yourself a nice cushion.

DO be aware of road closures due to the race which may impede your normal driving route as well as where to park. Always have alternatives in mind. Large volumes at some of these events can cause a overflow, which may force you to make quick changes in plans.

If you haven’t picked up your race packet or you haven’t registered, certainly leave enough time to not only register but run back to your car if you don’t want to run with a T-shirt or other materials they give you. Remember, most organizations do not do credit card, so be sure to have cash or a checkbook with you for payment.

Does anyone have any other dos and don’ts for race morning? Please feel free to leave comments in the box below or contact me through e-mail or Twitter.

Part 1: Registration
Part 2: Packet Pick-up
Part 4: Running The Race
Part 5: Post Race

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