Fitness Articles

9 Helpful Tips for Your First Charity Race

Cross the Finish Line with Flying Colors

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I generally do a nice walk/jog 20-25 minutes prior to the start. Don’t feel the need to run hard; you want to save that energy for your race. One of the tricks I use is to run/walk the course starting at the finish line and going out approximately 400 meters (a quarter mile) before heading back to the start. The advantage to doing so allows you to see if there are any obstacles, such as hills, curves, etc. at the end. In addition, once you hit that point on the course during the actual race, you know you are almost to the end.

Only after you have done a nice warm-up should you do some light stretching.

Run Your Race
Race anxiety is quite common. But that extra burst of adrenaline works to a runner's advantage. If the event you are participating in allows for runners and walkers, you may want to line-up mid-pack. This will allow you not to be pulled into a faster runner's pace or have to dodge walkers participating in the event.

Start your pace much slower then you feel you should and then allow for a gradual pick up in pace as the race progresses. Once the field thins out, you can then choose a pace that you can comfortably hold for the remainder of the race. If you find yourself running too fast, slow your pace or add a nice walk until you are ready to pick up your pace again.

Many runners prefer running in the middle of the road as there is less sloping than you'll encounter along the curb, but you'll run farther than if you run near the curb. Running close to the curb and cutting corners is not considered cheating as International Amateur Athletic Federation-IAAF and USA Track & Field sanctioned races are measured using the shortest route available for most runners.

Most events generally provide at least one, sometimes two, water stations on a 5K (3.1 mile) course. Feel free to stop and drink at the water station or to pick up cups of water and continue running if you're concerned about making a good time. I believe the biggest anxiety for most new runners is the fear of being the last one across the finish line. Regardless of your finishing time or placement, know that you just accomplished something that many people never had the courage to do.

"Last is just the slowest winner."-C Hunter Boyd

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About The Author

Nancy Howard Nancy Howard
Nancy is an avid runner and health enthusiast. A retired pediatric nurse, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Woman's University and is also a certified running coach and ACE-certified personal trainer.

Member Comments

  • Great article. I don't run because of my hip. - 8/29/2013 8:01:49 AM
  • It is very important to overdress or underdress. Yes, it does say that in the article. I'm pretty sure it should say to NOT. I had to go back and look at that twice. lol - 5/29/2013 2:08:45 PM
  • Great info! I wear a Road ID on my shoe...the kind with a pocket to hold my key, but I had not considered creating an ICE contact entry on my phone. As soon as I finished the article, I created one. - 5/17/2013 1:46:21 PM
  • Thansk for the great article. A few of my friends and I are planning to run a 5K in December and these are some great tips. I was sort of wondering what to pack/bring and I'm the kind of person who is always nervous about something til I do it at least once or twice. - 8/16/2012 9:58:44 PM
  • What a great article, Nancy! This will sure help anyone who is new to races. - 8/16/2012 8:16:17 PM
  • THISTIMEMYWAY
    20-25 minutes warm-up! Ha ha that is funny. I do not know if I would be able to run 48 minutes after that! - 11/28/2011 12:33:44 PM
  • Yeah to all of us getting rady to run our first 5ks! This was a great article, I saved it also! Good luck everyone! - 10/11/2011 12:42:59 PM
  • I am definitely saving this article. I am runing my first 5K in October, so I am sure it will come in handy! - 8/18/2010 7:56:06 AM
  • Thanks for this article. My first 5K is next Sunday and I found the tips very helpful. - 2/7/2010 7:02:43 PM
  • JILLLIGHT
    wonderful article. full of good ideas, I am doing a 5k charity walk in a few weeks and I'm so glad I came across this advice. Jill - 1/30/2010 2:01:50 PM
  • Nice article, but I stopped running YEARS ago because I felt it was bad for my knees. - 1/30/2010 12:47:59 AM
  • I am running a day after Thanksgiving 5K for a local Hospice organization. Anyone have any experience or suggestions concerning getting through the big feast day knowing that there is a race the next day? Foods to pay special attention to include or avoid? I appreciate any insight anyone may have. - 11/17/2009 9:09:54 AM
  • Nice how-to Nancy! Wish I'd had this on my first race.
    Keep in mind that any layers you wear that you might want to take off during the race should be something you're willing/able to tie around your waist or carry. (The sleeveless overshirt doesn't work well for this reason). - 11/17/2009 8:38:51 AM
  • Love it, this inspires me on. Not only will I use this as a personal , but I will use it as a team challenge for the coming new year. Thank you for all you do.
    Nancy - 11/17/2009 4:19:14 AM
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