Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Race Advice for First-Time Racers

As I've mentioned a few times before, my work pays for race entry into certain races as part of a company-wide health initiative. It has encouraged a lot of people around the office to join in on races that they may not otherwise have done. I'm sure most of you guys have a race or two under your belt...  With all the Turkey Trots around the corner, I thought it would be helpful to go through some tips to help out those newbies, heading out to their first race!
I'm ready for my local Turkey Trot! Are you?

1) Bibs should be worn on the front, not the back: If the race has photographers, no one will see your bib for the post-race photos. If the race is a small, local one, the finish times are usually determined by tearing off the bottom of your bib. If it is on your back, this can be cumbersome and annoying. I'm sure I was guilty of doing this exact thing for my first race, before my friend graciously told me that the bibs go on the front. Why do we assume they should go on the back? Maybe because of numbers on the back of jerseys? Either way, you'll be happier when wearing your bib on the front (and, you'll look like a pro). 

2) Do not wear the shirt of the race to the race: I always think of a scene from Can't Hardly Wait. "You don't wear the shirt of the band you're in."  I know some people like to do this to support the race. I can be pretty superstitious and I think it is bad luck to wear the race shirt before you've completed the race. Maybe that is just me and my goofy superstitions? I usually like to wear the shirt after the race (even immediately following) or the next day...

3) If you need to stop and walk, move to the side: I have had to do this a few times during races (ie Chicago Marathon 2011). I've even had people cut me off (and give me a dirty look) as I was slowly on my way to the side. During crowded races, there will be people cutting other people off--it is inevitable. However, it definitely is much safer trying to move to the side to walk than stopping in the middle and having people move around you. You wouldn't stop your car in the middle of the highway...

4) Line up with other runners that look around your speed: If this is a big race with a corral system, look up suggested paces of the various corrals before the race to make sure you're in the right spot. You don't want to get run over or run other people over. If it is a smaller pace, just take a guess, or ask some of the people around you. Runners are usually friendly folk, so I doubt anyone would mind the question. :)

5) Don't run more than 2 (or 3) across: This is much more of an issue at crowded races or a small/narrow course, but still something to mention. 

6) Smile for the camera (or video camera): Even at small races, it is becoming more popular to have a photographer snapping photos, if only for the local Patch (or cable access show). You never know where a race photo could end up so why not smile along the way? :)

7) Have fun out there! That should be easy... :)

Does anyone else have any other tips for newbies?

16 comments:

  1. I'm going to do the opposite of all of these at my next race. See how many people I can piss off...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amy B @ Second City RandomnessNovember 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I consistently tell my friend who does races with me that the bib goes in the front. She refuses. She has some unspoken complex about it, from what I gather...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha, I wonder why we think, naturally, that bibs go on the back? I know I've thought this before. Is it some sort of unspoken thing? I don't understand!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Michel@babyweightmyfatassNovember 20, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    I agree with all of these statements.... but my pet peeve is really a general thing and that's the National Anthem esp at bigger races it usually happens. When the National Anthem starts it is respectful that you shut your yap and observe the song. It irritates the hell out of me when I'm soaking it all in and someone is yapping away right next to me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ahhh! I completely agree!!! I think this goes for races and sporting events as well. When the National Anthem is playing, please close your mouth... :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. #4 is very important. For fun, line up in a slower corral, or start further back. This will help you to start more slowly (i.e. run negative splits) and not charge out too fast and suffer later in the race. You will also have the fun of passing lots of people!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Similar to Pete's comment, start further back than you think you should! Especially if you don't know how fast you run. It's much more fun to pass people than it is to be passed anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Haha totally! Passing people (especially at the end) is super fun... (added plus for passing dudes and other ladies in your age group)

    ReplyDelete
  9. My tip would be to squeeze the water cup into a V shape before drinking if you stop at a water stop and want to keep running. :-) Also, run to a table further down, usually the newbies all stop at the first table.
    I think people may wear bibs on the back because you see cyclists doing it.
    Interestingly, I know someone that wore a friend's bib on his back because his friend couldn't run the race. He wore his own on his front. The funny thing was, his friend got a faster time than he did! So there may be something to wearing your bib on the back...

    ReplyDelete
  10. dress up if you want strangers to cheer for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Put your name on your bib or shirt so you can have strangers join your cheering squad! Also #1 racing rule-don't try anything new on race day!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. These are great tips! Last year I ran my first race ever on Thanksgiving and wore the race shirt. Luckily, though, I had a jacket on over it, so very few people knew the runner's sin I was committing. First time racers should just try to relax and have fun during their first race even if you go slow -- the only goal should be to cross the finish line with a smile / not in pain! Finishing your first race standing up will encourage you to sign up for another race (then another, then another!).

    ReplyDelete
  13. awesome tips girl!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Such good tips - and awesome turkey headband. Happy Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  15. If you're running with a stroller please for the sake of everyone's safety start in the back & stay to the side. I've seen runner/strollers & runners in more tangled messes than I care to think about.

    ReplyDelete