Last week, I was doing some research on running for the winter holiday survival guide that I am preparing to help get me through my trip to Connecticut. I am going to finish C25k while I am there, and then I will keep up my running for a couple more weeks before my first 5k on 1/1/11. Although I have walked in 5k and 8k races before, I wanted to see what information and advice was out there for first time runners in road races. Luckily, I found dozens of great articles on About.com, one of my personal favorite websites. I feel like About.com totally gets overlooked in terms of awesome sites. I refer my students to it often, as their explanations of French grammar are terrific, and there are a lot of quizzes with immediate feedback that can be taken for extra practice.
Two articles in particular were relevant, so I added them to my guide. One talks about outdoor running in winter - everything from how to properly dress to how to stay safe in less than ideal conditions. That article can be found here.
The other [ linked here ] gives tips for the day of your first race. Since I have walked races before, I'm familiar with a few of them - picking up your race packet early, eating a nutritious breakfast and drinking water on the course, pinning your race bib onto the front of your shirt, and not getting right up at the starting line (unless you would like to be trampled, or at the very least, cursed at). Since this is going to be my first running race, I'm going to have my support team at the finish line to cheer me on. I'm also not focusing on breaking any records - all I'd like to do is finish.
The one thing I found interesting was their last bit of advice:
10. Don't Wear the Race T-ShirtThis one really made me think. The other stuff is pretty obvious - make sure you don't eat too much or too little, make sure you stay hydrated, etc. But this one left me wondering. Even though they will be giving us shirts at my first running race, I'm planning on having my brother help me decorate a shirt to wear over a technical shirt and under a fleece (the race is along the Connecticut shoreline - not as cold as Chicago, but still pretty chilly!). But for my walking races, I've always worn the shirts that they gave us - most people do. It's neat to see everyone in the same uniform, ready to accomplish an awesome task. I posed the question on Twitter, and Jayme said that while she does not believe in superstitions, it does make sense to "earn" the shirt before wearing it. I had never thought of it that way!
Lastly, you'll most likely get a race T-shirt when you sign up for the race. Don't wear it until after you've completed the race. Not only are there superstitions associated with wearing it in the race, but it also makes you look like a rookie!
What are your thoughts on this? Any other advice for a first time 5k-er?