A pre-race guideline for the River Run, geelong.
Congratulations on signing up for your first 5km run. You’ll have a lot of nervous energy as the date of your first race approaches – but keep in mind how good you’ll feel when you cross the finish line! (and then jump on one of our treatment tables for a complimentary post-race massage!)
How to Prep the Night Before Your Run
Lay out your clothes, shoes and gear you will wear the night before. Organize everything the night before to ensure that you have everything you need and you don’t forget an important item due to pre-race anxiety.
Don’t forget your race bib! This year for the River Run make sure you drop into Latrobe Health Centre on the Thursday night beforehand to pick up your race bib (for other pick up locations see the website).
Eat a healthy dinner the night before the race and eat the foods you’re used to eating the night before a run. Don’t eat anything new as it could cause stomach distress during the race. Don’t neglect hydration either – you need to be hydrated for a race, regardless of the distance, and regardless of the weather.
Don’t do anything new or different on race day. Race day is not the day to break in a new pair of shoes or shorts – or even socks and undies! Make sure you have done several runs in them before race day to avoid blisters, chafing and an overall bad first race.
Get to the race early, all the close car parks will inevitably be gone! Plan to arrive 45-60 minutes before the race starts. This will allow you to walk from your car, use the bathroom, warm up, stretch, and mentally prepare for your first race. Lines to the toilets are always long as everyone has their nervous toilet visit pre-run!
As the race start approaches, it’s best to do a light warm-up that includes some dynamic stretching and a walk or slow run for 5 to 10 minutes. Dynamic stretching is better than static stretching before a race as you will warm your muscles up with a decreased risk of injury. After you warm up, take to the starting line – lining up with runners of roughly similar ability.
During the Run: Pacing and Strategy
Remember to start slowly, it’s incredible easy to get swept up in the crowd! Adrenaline, excitement, nerves (and ego!) can take you out at a faster pace than you practiced in training.
If you can carry on a conversation in the first kilometre, then you have likely started at a good pace. If you’re gasping for breath, you likely went out too fast. It’s better to go out too slow and gradually pick it up as the race progresses than go out too fast and struggle to finish. Remember to strike a pose for our photographers out on the course!
Once you hit the last 500m, run tall, increase your pace and effort, and prepare for your final surge to the finish line as the crowd cheers you on. There is nothing more empowering than passing people in the final stages of a race!
Finish and Post-Race
Run to the finish with what you have left in your tank – celebrate your finish! You only get one first 5km race, so make it count and take it all in!
Don’t forget your post-run recovery. Rehydration is most important in the 2 hours post-race. After 5km you won’t usually need any extra carbohydrates to refuel, but an orange or banana would be a good option.
Static stretching for 15 minutes post-race will prevent some muscle soreness. Make sure you take advantage of the amazing Latrobe Health Centre team of myotherapists and chiropractors who will be offering complimentary post-race massages for all athletes.
Good luck and go and smash your first 5km run!