My First Official Race ~ Tips & Tricks for New Runners

3658043028_2102714e18_zI have signed up for my first official race this Sunday!

That’s right!  The same person who has been heard saying “I hate running!” or “Running is my least favourite form of exercise.”

One of my setbacks and reasons why I hate running was a number of joint issues that I can’t even begin to list. I remember at one time a doctor told me running is the worst thing I can do for my knees…pffft…what do they know?! Nothing a little rest and ice can’t fix, right?!

I mean how many times have doctors said “He’ll never walk again.”

Then, BAM! He’s dancing a jig a month later.

“Praise Lord, it’s a miracle.”

Praise nothing.  It’s actually amazing what your body can do when you put your mind to it.

While I have grown to love like running, I still don’t consider myself a runner.  Over the years I have gradually increased my distance and pace just to see how far I could push myself.  Up until I decided to do this race, I had only been running twice a week.  One long run, anywhere from 10-14km and a short one mid-week or a few 20 minute treadmill runs at the gym before strength training.  These past two weeks I have added a few more runs to see if I can get my pace up.  I do have a goal in mind but I’m not going to share it just yet as I am really superstitious and fear that if I write it down it might not happen! I promise I’ll share it in my recap post.

While I have run 10km and longer, I have never officially signed up for a race.  Since I’m a racing newbie, I decided to ask my fellow FitFluential ambassadors for some tips and advice.  I had an awesome response – thank you all!  Check out their tips below…

DO NOT try any new foods the night before, the morning of, or during the race
Heather from Relentless Forward Commotion says:
“This is not a friendly avoidance suggestion, it is a warning to NOT try new things.  Instead, stick with foods that you know your stomach can easily digest, and you have had success with during your training runs.
Read all of Heather’s common race day ailments and how to avoid them here.



Get everything ready the night before
Coco from Running with Perseverance says:
“…and I mean everything! Your clothes, your race bib/number (if you got it ahead of time), your electronics (if permitted), your water bottle and any “fuel” (sports beverage, sports gel, etc.) you will bring. I also usually pack a snack (granola bar or banana) for before and/or after the race just in case. If you have a long drive home, you might want to bring a change of clothes—or at least a fresh shirt and shoes—to wear afterwards.”
Read more tips from Coco here.

Corral or seed yourself according to your expected pace
Cynthia Steel from Run Haven says:
Don’t line up at the front if you’re not a super fast runner. You’ll either get trampled or you’ll cause an issue for others.
Check out her full list of race etiquette tips here.

Do not cut off other runners
Another great tip from Coco:
“Don’t cut someone off on a tight corner, try to leave plenty of room when passing, and don’t stop suddenly–even at a water station. If you need to stop please pull over go to the side of the course first and try to step off the road so the runner(s) behind you won’t trip over you!
Read all her race etiquette pet peeves here.

Set your pace and stick to it!
Bryan Falchuk from explains the importance of setting your pace and sticking to it.  Read all about it here.
“There’s a reason why this is a typical newbie mistake – you don’t realize the draw the event will have on your pace decisions and adherence to your race plan.”

How to fuel before your race
Celia from Chicago Jogger shared a fabulous article full of awesome pre-race meal ideas. Read it here.



I learned a lot from reading these articles!  I’m also going to practice visualization and get plenty of rest the night before.

Which me luck on my 10km and be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for insta-results!

Are you a new runner? Check out these race day tips from my fellow @fitfluential ambassadors Click To Tweet

Are you a runner?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share?


  • Ann Wilson May 7, 2015 at 5:01 am

    Best of luck, but most importantly, have fun! I have done races from 5k up to Ironman triathlon and everything in between. My best advice that my triathlon coach gave me the week prior to my first Ironman: nothing you do in your final week or two (workout wise) before the race is going to make any sort of significant impact on your race. The hay is in the barn.” It still meant doing workouts and tapering, but if you have to be flexible and change or shorten your taper sessions due to weather, travel to race, etc., it’s no big deal.

    I also have a mantra that I repeat to myself when workouts or races get tough. I say to myself: “I am young, healthy and strong.” Over and over again, I keep saying it.

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes! Have fun!

    • happyhealthfreak May 7, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Thank you Ann!! That’s great advice. I’m really looking forward to the excitement and adrenaline of it all. While I have been running for a few years, this is the first competitive race I’ve entered. Can’t wait!
      I will be using your mantra for sure 🙂

  • Cris May 7, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Hi. I just wanted to wish you good luck, but most importantly have fun! Running is more of a mental exercise than anything else. As long as you stay chill and enjoying the race, you’re going to be a winner that day. P.S. I for one love ruining for the fun I have during and after any race. Good luck again! 🙂

    • happyhealthfreak May 7, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Thanks Cris!!! Great advice 🙂 I agree, I will definitely need to relax a bit and not be too competitive/hard on myself. After all, they do call it a “fun run”!

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