Last Updated on November 8, 2014 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
Step 2: For the 24-12 hours pre race: nurse gnarly hangover. Do not rehydrate properly, because your stomach can’t handle the thought of…well..anything. Same goes with food. Don’t bother fueling. Lay on the couch all day with your sick kids.
Step 3: Laying on the couch all day will give you a nice boost of energy around, oh, 9:00 PM, so be sure to stay up late. TOO late.
Step 4: Wake up super early. Early enough that you have about 3 hours to sit around and mull over your nervous energy.
Step 5: eat nothing more than a banana for breakfast. That nervous energy won’t allow for much more than that anyway. And no, still no hydrating!
Step 6: Be sure to pick a race that has NO shade on the course, make sure the sun is out without any cloud cover, and be absolutely certain that the temperature reaches at least 80 degrees before the start.
Step 7: Consider 3/10ths of a mile a “good enough” warm up. It’s too hot out to warm up anyway.
Step 8: When the gun goes off, run like a bat out of hell. Pacing shmacing. If you look down and see anything slower than a 5:30 min/mile pace on your Garmin, you are going too slow. Hold this pace for, oh, a quarter mile, until your body starts screaming “yeah, right” and you drop pace significantly.
Step 9: When you hit the water stop, and grab a big cup to pour over yourself, remember, you have a sweat wicking visor on. Therefore, throw the entire contents of the cup at the top of your forehead, ensuring no water ACTUALLY touches your skin nor does any good in cooling you off.
Step 10: Congratulations, at this point you should be walking the course, letting people pass you left and right, reveling in the dizziness and chills that are likely the onset of heat exhaustion. Be sure to really note how HEAVY your legs feel, and the fact that your Garmin is constantly beeping at you to “go faster”. Nothing says “bad 5k” like adding a minute to each one of your three miles, and walking within 200 yards of the finish line. Of a 5k!
Step 1: Pick a race that celebrates something important, such as appreciating our Military personnel, past and present, and all that they do for us.
Step 2: Meet up with friends, new and old. A run is always better when shared, even if you don’t run the same pace, you are still there together.
Step 3: ENJOY the fact that you are running. What is it they always say? A bad day of fishing running is always better than a good day at work? Or something like that. You are doing what you love. So LOVE IT, even if it’s really hard today. Push. Persevere. Giggle as you think of your sister, who texted you to “pretend Shaun T is chasing you”. Tell yourself to “Dig Deeper”, for Shaun’s sake.
Step 4: Get really excited when you cross the finish line and a veteran hands you a finisher’s medal. Unexpected bling for simply finishing a local 5k? YES PLEASE!
Step 8: Try not to tear up when aforementioned age group winner new friend, who lives a thousand miles away, and you’ve never met in person until that morning, reminds you that YOU were the one who first suggested and encouraged her to take up running.
Step 9: Beam with pride over having the worlds sweetest babies, when you come home, walk in the door, pick up your 2 year old and he exclaims excitedly: “Oh mama, you wond TWO medals, gweat job esercising!!!”
Step 10: Thank God for your health, your strength, your LEGS, and an amazing sport that has brought so much good to your life!
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.